Friday, March 4, 2022

The Lessons of History

We're coming to the end of my local university's Holocaust Awareness Week, and Wednesday night I had the distinct honor of attending a presentation given by survivor Oscar Sladek. Mr. Sladek escaped the Nazi roundups in Czechoslovakia (though much of his family did not) and is a seemingly-tireless speaker and advocate. He's 86 years old, and though I hope he has many more years ahead of him, the day will come when the voices of the Holocaust survivors are heard no more. If you have a chance, please go and listen to the people who have lived so much history and are willing to share it.

I'm also reading The Choice, by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She survived imprisonment in Auschwitz and after a great deal of healing and forgiveness went on to help many others through her practice in clinical psychology. It is harrowing and beautifully written, and though I'm only about a third of the way in, I know it will be unforgettable.

The Holocaust was a time marked by astonishing human cruelty but also courage and hope and resilience. The world is still a complicated place where some people--I'm looking at you, Putin--feel they have the right to choke the destiny of others in a stranglehold. I will not pretend to be an expert in geopolitical affairs or history, and the injustice in the world is at times overwhelming. But this simple advice is pretty sound: Be good. Be kind. Be tolerant. Smile often. And when things go sideways, as they are wont to do, help when and how you can.

Be well, my friends.



  1. My eldest Barbarian did a school excursion to a Holocaust museum and was privileged enough to hear from a survivor. Her talk definitely meant a lot to him. It's a shame more can't hear their voice.

    1. True. But it's good that he was able to have that experience!