In response to Rabbi Stern’s post, it is impossible to think about righting the wrongs of the Holocaust because the cruelty, barbarism, and evil on such an unimaginable scale preclude any talk of justice. The work of the Claims Conference should be recognized as an attempt to assist aging survivors in need and not as compensation in any shape or form for the indescribable suffering they experienced as their families and communities were systematically destroyed.
We were privileged to have a noted Holocaust survivor, Dave Gewirtzman, speak to our congregation recently, and the moral clarity of his message–that we must never forget so that we may honor the memories of those who perished and so that we commit ourselves to stand against injustice anywhere–was a clarion call as we look ahead to Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
If there is a measure of restitution to be given to the survivors of the worst atrocity in human history, it comes not in the form of money–although, as I said, this has a role as well in easing their final years–but in using their experiences and examples as a prod to ensure that we stand united as a community in the face of those who seek to oppress and destroy innocent men, women, and children–in Rwanda, in Sri Lanka, in Darfur–and declare: “Never Again.”
Read the Full Debate: Is the Search for Restitution OK?