My visit with Oskar Schindler

So much have already been written… so much have already been said… and yet we still somehow seem to forget. Forget how easy it is for us humans to turn away from righteousness and do really horrible things to each other. On Tuesday the 27th of January its the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and thousands will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. A Nazi German concentration and death camp. Its estimated that 1,1 million people died in Auschwitz, and only a few survived. I have visited the camp and I will never forget the feeling I had when I realized that I could walk in and out, I was a free person visiting a place which for so many people had been, and always will be hell on earth. I have only seen the remains of it, I have never experienced it myself. Soon the people, the survivors of this hell on earth will all have passed on. That will truly be a sad day when the last eyewitness is gone. Hopefully there will be people who continue to share their lives, there stories. I have a very good friend, who has written a book about his mother’s experiences and how she survived the Holocaust. I feel honoured to know him, and also to have met her. She who had been saved, and who managed to build a life after having her whole family gassed to death.

In all the killing of innocent men, women and children, in all this hate and determination to wipe out a whole entire people, there were brave men and women who could not turn their backs to the murdering. They felt they needed to do something. in a time when it seemed like the whole world had lost track of love and humanity. There were some who stood up against the horrific crimes being committed. I want to share my thoughts and feelings to a man, who’s grave I have visited. His name is Oskar Schindler. Oskar Schindler an ethnic German who is credited for saving 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. I have seen the movie Schindler’s list and I believe that if you have seen it,´too the one scene you will never forget is the little girl in the red coat, one of only four colour images in the three hour black and white film. Later on in the movie you see a wagon with decomposing corps on it and you catch a glimpse of a red-tinted rag of a little girl… This girl and so many other children never got to live the life that they were given. Only a few got to grow old. The Schindlerjuden, or Schindler Jews in English were avoided being sent to death camps because of the bravery of one man. In the end of the Schindler’s list we see the ones still alive after the making of the movie, put small rocks on his grave.

I had a desire to do the same, so at my second visit to Israel I traveled to Jerusalem and visited his grave. It was an experience I will never forget. As I was looking for it, I asked two different people for the directions, and both told me that it was no use to go because the Catholic graveyard was closed already. I felt like I should go there anyways, just to at least get to see the gates to where a great man was buried,

IMG_2468 Oskar Schindler’s Grave

To my surprise the gates were open and I went inside and pretty soon I could see his grave, it’s the only one with small rocks on it. I went and sat by it, noticed I was alone… leaned on his grave and burst out in tears. The quote ” Whoever saves one life saves the world entire”.´came to my mind. It is a quotion from the Talmud, the book of Jewish law. I believe it means that one man can truly make a difference. Oskar Schindler made a difference for a whole nation. Think of the offspring from those 1,2000 men women and children all saved

IMG_2470 The Unforgettable Lifesaver of 1200 Percecuted Jews

Oskar on this day, that I got to visit , and honour you by putting a small rock on your grave I also honoured my faith, my parents and my life by making a promise. That promise is to never forget you. Never forget your bravery, and also never forget the Holocaust and all its victims. I made a promise to do what I can to make this world a little better, a little more human. I promised you, myself and God to always be brave. As I’m writing this I am crying because I know that what happened on that day when I visited your grave was a small little miracle. On my way back I met a rabbi who asked me where I had been, and I told him. “But how can that be, it’s closed by this hour” I looked at him, trying not to let the tears come again… I guess it was meant for me to visit and show my respect. I could feel that we both knew. The rabbi and I both knew  a little miracle had just occured.

On Tuesday January 27th it’s a Day of Remembrance and decide already now that you too will be brave. Together we can make a difference and together we can save lives.

Shalom ❤

Miriam Blanchette