Blog Day 4 Yad Vashem
I had an incident happen to me. I needed to pee half way through the tour. I went to ask security wher the toilet was , and she directed me. I could not find it and looked around for a while. Soon after I felt a tap on my arm. An elderly woman stood before me. She had a walker, and in sign language and a very broken English, she said, “toyelette?”
I held my hands up in a shrug and said “I don’t know, what language do you speak?”
I have to say, I went cold. Here I was, half way through a tour of Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, my eyes still moist from crying for the passed 1/2 hour, from seeing the most graphic photographs, and hearing accounts from Ken Spiro. The thick energy that wafts between the cement angular walls, that create a sensation of helplessness, no way out, no hope, the world closing in on you. My whole mind and body was heavy with such charged emotion. And here before me, was a German woman.
Perhaps she was a German Jew, but intuition told me otherwise.
I told her I don’t speak German, and I walked away. A few minutes later, I found the bathroom.
Should I go and call her? My first thought was, ” did this woman point out a bathroom to my family during WWII? Did she stand idly by during the immense suffering of my people? Would she have cared if an old lady needed to relieve herself? Why should I care?”
In spite of myself I turned around and showed her where the bathroom was, and held the door open for her.
As I went into my stall, a wave of tears welled up inside of me, and I burst into tears. I got so angry with this old lady. All of a sudden she represented the whole of Nazi Germany. Why did you do this? Why? Why? How could you?
I breathed deep, and reason returned. Maybe she is Jewish. Maybe she helped hide Jews during the war, may she did nothing wrong!I went to wash my hands, and she hobbled out her cubicle slowly. She smiled at me. She told me it was her 80th birthday, and was on a tour with people from all over Germany. So I realized she was definitely not Jewish. And then she held my arm and left the bathroom.
I stood there feeling cold. The woman, and what she had or had not done , was really irrelevant. The emotion that I felt was raw. But I realised why we were such a great people. Because we care. We have the ability to forgive, and we always rise above. The Jewish nation was practically obliterated, and like the Phoenix that rose from the ashes, so did we. Stripped of all things material, and having endured the most torturous emotional and physical abuse, after having family members murdered brutally right before there eyes,and living with the stench of burning flesh for years, these people built an entire new life for themselves.
They got on with it. No blame, no complaints. We were not even victims. However, we will never forget. And in the spirit of the 6 million Jewish souls that perished, we have to live each day to the best of our ability.
Besides, I thought, here this woman was, giving testimony to a hellish point in history. Acknowledging. Remorseful, who knows, I can only hope she was.