We are the dreams of our ancestors

Words of Arturo Gorbach, Hanoar Hatzioni Mexico’s chaver at the ceremony in his Masa le Polin, in front of what was a Hanoar Hatzioni Ken in Tikocyn, Poland.

In the absolute silence I felt while touring the concentration camps of Birkenau, Auschwitz and Majdanek, the only thing I could hear was my head asking itself: why?

To think of reasons to justify the acts we are witnessing today is impossible. The humiliation and suffering to which our ancestors were subjected seems to be too much, enough to destroy a whole people. And yet, we are fortunate that 15 million and more of us can answer: Here I am. Here I am here after we were segregated and separated from the rest of society. We are still here after being sent to live in the worst human conditions. We are still here after being sent to our death.

Today, we remember; we remember to commemorate each individual life that fell at the hands of the Nazi regime, not as a single collective digit of six million, but seeing those six million lives as six million stories. Stories of people just like any of us. Also, we remember to thank everyone who was resilient and resisted to protect the people, for every soul of every Jewish individual means more than bones and flesh. It symbolizes the legacy that our fathers and mothers bestowed upon us, it signifies the tradition that we passed on, it signifies the memory of a people that no matter how hard they were beaten, they always stood back up. But above all, it signifies the dreams of our ancestors.

Today, we have the privilege and the responsibility to carry on our Jewish legacy. What would they have wanted us to do with it? I think it is about providing a just life and striving for a society in which we are respected, and we respect. A reality in which we continue to care for each other, and strive for our continuity. A reality in which we can be exemplary leaders of a free world. A reality with the right to our self-determination, and that our destiny is not at the hands of anyone else but G-d. Above all, a reality where we remember events like these so that they never happen again.

May we continue to be great educators, just and resilient, for resilience did not end when Auschwitz was liberated, but is a spirit that endures to this day, from the Diaspora to Zion.

Chazak ve’ematz.

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