My fellow blogger, “I’ve Got The Hippy Shakes” wrote today about being Jewish; that it’s not easy to be a Jew these days. A fellow Jew just like me, and afraid just as I am. Having recently traveled to Paris, the events of the past week have really shaken me up.
In May of 2014 I traveled there. The first thing I wanted to do upon arrival was to visit the site of the Vel D’Hiv Roundup. I originally became interested in the site after reading the book, “Sarah’s Key”. On July 16 – 17, 1942, 13,152 Jews were arrested, including more than 4,000 children. Arrested for the simple fate of being Jewish. They were held there in the Velodrome D’Hiver (winter sports arena) for days until many perished; the rest were sent to death camps.
Despite the arena having been long since torn down, standing on the hallowed ground of this tragic event made me weep. What makes me weep even more now is the blatant anti semitism still being exhibited not only in France, but throughout Europe. This is a picture of the monument, erected in honor of those that died:
Closer up you will see that the inscription apologizes for the crimes against the victims. Will there be a new monument erected for those that died in the past two weeks? Is this monument meaningless?
Several years ago I was in Paris as well. Just behind the Notre Dame Cathedral is a Holocaust Memorial. The primarily Jewish area, Le Marais has memorial plaques erected on buildings that were once occupied by Jews that died in the holocaust. Here is one I photographed:
In a country and city that pays homage to those Jews that perished in the war, why now is there a return to this anti-semitism? Jews are leaving France in record numbers, yet these monuments, these museums were built to preserve the memory of our people, to remind us that it should never happen again.
So it gives me pause. Why? What have we done? What is it about the Jewish people that peace and acceptance have eluded us for thousands of years?
As my friend wrote in his blog, it isn’t easy being Jewish. I have felt the sting of hatred many times in my life; had people dislike me for no other reason than my faith. I’ve been called a “Kike”; a “Heb”. Most often when I have been called those names it was from someone who had no clue why they were saying it. They heard it at home; they heard it from friends. You aren’t born anti-Semitic, you are taught to be that way.
I am only one small voice out of thousands that have spoken out about this. How many more will it take to end this?
And how many more lives will it cost?
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