March 16th, 2015
Tonight I sat relaxing in a recliner chair excited to watch one of my favourite television shows – Who Do You Think You Are. Often, I marvel at the fabulous details that can be uncovered about a celebrity’s past and enjoy their journey of discovery almost as much as I have enjoyed my own journey into our family’s history. I was exceptionally pleased that I would be seeing the story of Lisa Kudrow this evening, having always enjoyed her as an actress. But I had no idea of the pain and suffering her ancestors had endured.
I watched as the story of Lisa’s Great Grandmother, Meri, started to unfold. I have always known of the horror’s of the Holocaust because – well – you learn these things in school, don’t you? No – you do not. Tonight, I struggled to comprehend the evil behind these disgusting beliefs and behaviours as this story unfolded.
I listened to the story of how many of these poor Jewish people in Meri’s village were herded from their homes and marched to the town square where 900 men, women, children and babes were chosen, told to strip naked to inflict maximum humiliation, and shot in small groups, their bodies falling into a deep pit. When the last poor soul was murdered, oil was then poured over the bodies and they were set alight to ensure that those not killed outright with bullets would die anyway.
I wept as Lisa Kudrow stood in front of the local memorial for these victims and wiped tears from her eyes. Anger at the inhumanity of these foul act, but also total disbelief welled up inside me at the pain and suffering of these poor, poor people. I simply cannot fathom the hate of the single individual that generated these acts, let alone his ability to unite so many followers in his cause to annihilate one single ethnic group.
I pray that no man should suffer for his beliefs or heritage in this way ever again, and yet I know that, even as I sit here typing my thoughts on this topic, that freedom is not a right in so many countries around the world, even now.
The other thought that I struggled with this evening was of my own extreme good fortune to be living in such a liberal country. Australia, for me, is paradise. I live, love and believe in what ever I choose. There is food aplenty, and a roof over my head. But most importantly of all, as I lay down to sleep tonight, I can do so in the certain knowledge that my family are safe and enjoying the same freedoms that I do.