Mr. Shmuel Beller is one of the ordinary, extraordinary people I've had the great ze’chus (merit) to meet over the past few days at the Auschwitz Liberation 70th Anniversary observations.
On the bus ride to Auschwitz #1 Monday morning, I was chatting with him when he mentioned that for the first 40 years after his liberation from the concentration camps, he never discussed his experiences with anyone at all.
Then one day, his daughter was doing a report on the Holocaust and mentioned to her father that a faculty member at her school had told her, "It's not really important that you know about those things."
"Since then," said Mr. Beller, "I started talking about the Holocaust and haven't stopped since."
My dear friends, it sure is important that we discuss this among ourselves, with our children and with our children's children -- all the more so as the incredible heroes who survived this nightmare are getting older and older. May Hashem continue to grant them good health and many more years.
Today before the ceremonies at Auschwitz began, Mr. Beller asked me if I could please assemble a minyan so that he could say a chapter of Tehilim and recite Kaddish for his relatives who were murdered there.
I recorded those few moments for posterity, and posted it on YouTube here http://youtu.be/Qg2yTSsO-K8 with his permission. On two separate occasions during those few short moments I was about to turn off the recording, as I felt it may not have been appropriate to film his very searing emotions.
I resisted the temptation to shut the recording because I was thinking that my grandchildren should watch this one day so that they can learn about this chapter in our history from a perspective they will never get by reading a textbook.
It IS that important.
Here are 2 short videos I recorded in Auschwitz on Monday. This was the survivors saying Kaddish in Auschwitz: http://youtu.be/UEfZTNQIugA, and shortly thereafter they began an impromptu rendition of Hatikvah. Regardless of your background, the spirit, resiliency & determination of these survivors is just breathtaking. https://t.co/FB06lxCfNA
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