After these many years, you'd think we'd have evolved to a point where we no longer engage in genocides, mass murders, or flagrant violations of international law. But we do.
Very often I look at the pictures of my grandmother Paula. She was warm and loving. I imagine my conversations with her, sitting on her lap. I hear her. Her voice makes me feel strong and indestructible.
The lessons of the Holocaust are universal, but the scope and breadth of what befell its victims is quite particular.
Joe Brodecki was the executive director of the Campaign to Remember, the fundraising initiative for the development of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Hypnagogic images, images that dance on the inside of your eyelids in the liminal stages between wakefulness and sleep, are strangely affectless; they float like bubbles on the mind's eye, no feeling attached to them -- unlike dreams, which are hooked into the deepest emotional centers of the brain.
Today, the "cry of despair" has passed into the forgotten, and the "warning" is no longer heard. In Europe, and in France especially, anti-Semitic acts and phrases propagate like a virus.
Seventy years ago today, the prisoners of Auschwitz were liberated. Irene Weiss is one of those survivors. She was 13 years old when she was captured, her long blond braids shaved off and her family killed in the gas chambers. Weiss sat down with me to share her inspirational story.
I quiet myself down, take deep breaths and listen to my heart beat. Sometimes the world can seem so chaotic, that only breathing can bring me back to the center of who I am.
Soon no more Holocaust survivors will be alive, and our duty of remembering and understanding increases. This means, among other things, that we must face the uncomfortable truths about human nature that Auschwitz symbolizes.
There is no question that it hurts to think. There also is no question that it is dangerous not to think.
The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which will be marked January 27 on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, comes at a time when some are asking: Is it happening all over again in Europe?
Despite the enormity of the Holocaust, and the many books, movies, museums and memorials aimed at ensuring remembrance, Americans in more recent years have shown surprising ignorance of what happened under the Nazis.
As a travel writer open and game to exploring the offbeat and oddball within a few hours or one day's drive of New York City (Virginia to Maine), I've stumbled on some pretty bizarre, eccentric and/or downright weird things. Here's just a sampling from this year's explorations.
In The Killing Compartments, Abram De Swaan, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam, provides an insightful analysis of the phenomenon of mass annihilation that is not directly a part of "regular warfare."
If we think about the fact that every single parent wants the world to be a better place for their children, then for a moment, perhaps we can put our differences aside and our heads together. We need not wait for crises to join hands. There's lots to be done, and every small step counts.
She's done it all: married (and divorced) a prince; been painted by Andy Warhol; made the front page of Newsweek; survived cancer; faced bankruptcy and become a doting grandmother.