Have they begun stringing barbed wire again? Have they set-up new ovens again? How about those showers, are they getting them operational again? Are they stock-piling Zyklon B gas already?
Sadly, many Americans reading the paragraph above have no idea what the heck I’m muttering about.
“The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.”
Before Eternal Flame I of course knew about the Holocaust. My school did a unit on it last year, and of course every jewish individual must know at least some background information about the tragedy. What I lacked was a connection to the holocaust, a way of truly knowing the depth of it’s horridness. My grandmother was a survivor, but made it out of Germany before the camp’s were largely in use, and my other grandparents were unfortunately dead before I got to here their stories. I had never heard or felt for a person who truly experienced it, and that’s where Eternal Flame stepped in. In two of our meeting’s I was blessed to hear Bella Miller’s story and a survivors daughter speak.
I saw the numbers on one of their arms and heard their passionate story of capture, survival, and prosperity. They never lost hope and always had an idea, even ever so slight, that they would always survive. I could only describe it as inspiring that these people who were tortured and punished for the most twisted of reasons still saw survival as a reasonable solution. Eternal Flame opened my eyes wider than the school spectrum of holocaust study, to a more personal and raw level, and I believe that my life has been bettered from the entire experience.
Bennett Rosner, 15, Park Ridge
Being a part of the Eternal Flame fellowship has truly impacted me and has brightened the flame of Judaism eternally inside of me. I have always been aware of the events of the Holocaust and have heard and read about the impact it had on all people who survived it. Learning and reading about the lives of these innocent people who’s lives were changed forever is impactful, however, hearing the stories first hand is eye opening. I valued every moment of listening to the survivors stories, or the stories of survivors told by their family members.
Being told the story in detail, and seeing the emotion on the survivors faces as they explained the trouble and hardships endured, is not something that can be conveyed in a book. The stories remind me how lucky I am to be living the life I live today and that in the end, all my worries are really very small.
The experiences I took away from the Eternal Flame fellowship really are priceless and I am forever grateful that I was able to be a part of this amazing program.
– Zoe Pillar, 16, Woodcliff Lake
The Eternal Flame program impacted me in many ways. I had learned about the Holocaust in Hebrew school and history class. and thought I knew a lot about it. But, listening to the speakers we had during the various sessions, I realized I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. The stories that we were told were so moving, and gave insight into a whole different aspect of the Holocaust than what is covered in history class. It becomes much more personal when you know someone directly effected from the Holocaust.
The trip to DC was very interesting. I had been to the Holocaust museum there before, but this time I went through the museum with a different mindset. I really payed attention to what we saw, and had a different experience than the first time that I had been there. The Eternal Flame program really helped me to learn a lot and was a great experience that I am glad and lucky to have taken part in.
– Emily Goldner, 17, Saddle River
Throughout the Eternal Flame sessions and final trip I learned more than I ever expected that I would. When agreeing to do this, I thought that I would just gain more insight on the Holocaust, however little did I know that I would learn so much more than that. Over the course of the Eternal Flame fellowship I heard inspiring stories and learned more about my Jewish religion and how to interact with other Jewish people.
I met so many inspirational people on this trip that I could learn from. It made me reflect on myself and the way that I live my own life religiously and in other ways. I am so grateful to have experienced and been a part in this great fellowship.
– Ally Gillman, 15, Woodcliff Lake
The trip that I have recently gone on, Eternal Flame’s visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, has taught me a lot about my religion and what it meant to be Jewish during the war in Europe and what it means for us today. For example I learned on Saturday, the day of rest, the importance of getting away from all technology and interact with your family and friends. I enjoyed this trip for several reasons and was so lucky I was able to go and spend my time in Washington, DC.
– Emily Friedman, 14, Woodcliff Lake
The Eternal Flame trip has had a major impact on my life. I had once seen the Holocaust museum, but this time I had more of an opportunity to get to know the museum myself. I got to hear survivors speak and it was such an inspiration. Learning about the way people had to live in the Holocaust and how they were treated was extremely shocking and crazy. The Holocaust and the trip itself has taught me to never take anything for granted, and always live life to its fullest. I am beyond grateful that I had the experience of a lifetime that most people do not get to have!
Thank you for making this trip happen! (:
– Perri Mann, 15, Woodcliff Lake
The Eternal Flame was a great experience for me to learn about the Holocaust with other teens from my community. We had deep conversations and pondered things together that made me think about my life and the lives of those who endured the pain and suffering in the Holocaust. Hearing the story of a real Holocaust survivor was absolutely amazing and meaningful for me. As I listened to the survivor’s story along with my peers, I recognized the importance of being educated in the Holocaust as the last generation to live amongst survivors.
It is our generation’s job to retell these stories and horrifying realities to the generations to come so that it is never forgotten. By educating the people in our generation about the Holocaust, this fellowship is allowing the chain to continue unbroken.
– Rachel Spiro, 18, Woodcliff Lake
Eternal Flame has had a huge impact on my life, in more than one way. Through its sentimental, emotional, and informational appeal, I was able to grasp new Judaic insights not known before. Each meeting came a new speaker. And each speaker came a new and different perspective of what the Holocaust was really like. Being able to hear these people speak of the time that we as Jews like to keep in our hearts as a memory of the demolition of our people on a first or second hand basis is truly remarkable.
As generations pass on and these survivors are no longer able to share with us their treacherous journey, our generation must take on this new step to teach others what we can no longer be taught.
Eternal Flame has showed me this lesson through not only the incredible speakers, but by our trip to Washington D.C. Seeing the Holocaust Museum brought to light different emotions and connections to my Judaic heritage I never experienced before. I am so fortunate to have been given this opportunity and am especially grateful for all of the new people I met who share these common beliefs.
– Julia Steiner, 17, Montvale