Thursday, 17 March 2016

I Am Proud To Be Jewish

I'm writing this on a bus leaving Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin, Poland. For the first time in quite awhile I can officially say that I am proud to be Jewish. Never thought I'd say that, especially after the last three and a half hours. But there is much power in seeing that we are still here and the Nazis are not. We sang Acheinu in the building that housed the gas chambers, Am Yisrael Chai as we walked out, and Hatikvah in the crematorium. I've never sang those words with such conviction before. 

When you enter into Majdanek, you can see the expanse of the entire camp, building, watchtowers, barbed wire fences and of course the chimney from the crematorium. It's an incredible contrast to the town right next to it. I've always looked at the holocaust very objectively. With numbers and facts. And I came to Poland hoping to add feelings to it. But what hearing about what happened at this camp did was far more valuable. It reminded me that you can't look at a person as a number. That's the Germans did to us. Each person who perished in this camp and others had a life and dreams and a soul. And that is how you find the emotion. It is in realizing that it could have been me. There were girls just like me with a very different fate. All because they were Jewish. Most of them proudly Jewish. 

So, for me, the question becomes how can I not be proud to be Jewish after all we have persevered through. After all they did and went through because of people part of this incredible nation. 

I am so incredibly proud to be Jewish right now. 

Am Yisrael Chai
xo Aria

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