I would like to share part of my visit to Washington DC. Having spent 11 1/2 years as the Chief of Brooklyn South I have come to know and become close with a number of Jewish people who have had personal experience with the horrors of the Holocaust. Those cherished connections have always reminded me that the manifestation of evil that happened then is not just a “time in history,” but something that is very real and should never be forgotten.
My visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington has had a profound effect on me, and it will never leave me. There were a couple of times where I thought to myself, ‘I cannot continue in this place, I need to leave.’ Of course, I caught myself and thought, ‘brothers and sisters lived through this atrocity. So many still carry the pain with them. I owe at least that to them – and to myself – to experience this day in this place.’
Each visitor is given a small brochure depicting the life of a holocaust victim. I chose Rifka Fass. I do have friends who have survived the experience, and more who lost family members. Rifka is now another personal connection I have to a darker time in our humanity. Reflecting on my visit I am reminded of something I wrote the night of the sentencing of Detective Dillon Stewart’s murderer:
No selfishness can overpower selflessness, no evil will deter goodness and no hate can kill love.
I don’t know that we will ever free ourselves of evil in this world. Sadly I am sure there will still be crimes and violence and murder and even wars. But I certainly hope and pray that never again will the humanity of a whole race of people be denied.
Thank you all. I wish you a reflective day.