Earlier this week, two jets filled with most of the Knesset Members and their assistants took off for a visit in Auschwitz. I stayed here in Israel.
When the Jews were driven out of Spain during the Inquisition, we vowed never again to step foot in that cursed land. We kept that promise for hundreds of years.
Undoubtedly, the experience of standing at the mouth of the crematoria is not something that can be replicated. But there is an essence – much more important – lost when the memory becomes a museum expedition. The memory of the Holocaust must continue to be a living memory that is constantly there, influencing our lives and our approach to the nation that slaughtered our brethren.
If I were to land in Poland, who would guard me? Who is responsible for my security? In whom do I put my trust? What message does my presence there project to me and my surroundings? The implicit message is that what happened there is relevant to other worlds that no longer exist – just like a tour of the Pyramids. There is no connection between then and now. Now I rely on the Poles. Now there is a different ethical reality. They are not responsible.
On the 9th of Av, I do not go to museums. I fast. I take the memory to a place of action for me. I am in a state of personal mourning.
There is no significance to the memory of the Holocaust if we do not make it a personal accounting – for ourselves and our surroundings.