The tides of history cannot be forgotten. If you glance into the past, you can plainly see the ebb and flow of anti-Semitism across an infinite timeline. Every few hundred years, the wave reaches an apex, rendering the Jewish people destitute once again. Most recently, the rise of Nazism led to the death of over 6 million Jews. But that was 80 years ago, right? So why do Jews still talk about it so much? Because it wasn’t 80 years ago. It was 600 years ago during the Spanish Inquisition. 700 years ago in France. 800 years ago in England. Must I go on?
Jews speak about the Holocaust, because history has a funny way of repeating itself. Our collective memory slowly fades, and Jews, once again, are cast in an ominous light, the scapegoat of despair. We forget the stereotypes, and we repeat them. We forget our prejudice, and we feed it. The only way to counteract the unyielding circle of history is to remember.
Humans have consciousness, with that consciousness comes a strange power: to rehearse our memories. We recognize the fallibility of our minds, to lose hold of reality, of history, of names, and ideas. I believe humans make art to create permanence in the world; to defy the ambiguous, fluid nature of thought. Jews must constantly heave the weight of the Holocaust into the present moment, lest it be repeated.
This is not a fun job. Jews do not relish in remembrance; we recognize it as our duty. We have been betrothed with a task to “never forget”, and that is not self-exclusionary. We must not let anyone else forget, either. Recent weeks have exposed brewing anti-Semitic tropes lingering in society. Jews have been accused of oppressing Black people, of causing the pandemic; a swastika necklace was sold on a popular fashion website. Coinciding this influx of anti-Semitism, you may have noticed an increase in Jewish advocacy posts, as our community rallies together to combat these vicious attacks. Unfortunately, our advocacy appears to be self-limited, merely bouncing between the walls of a steel echochamber. I ask of all non-Jewish allies, to use their platforms to uplift the Jewish community, to dispel anti-Semitic tropes. While our Jewish community avidly fights to counter anti-Semitic ideology, your support is critical to spreading our message to a wider audience. As hateful rhetoric seizes the internet, I desperately hope we are not too late, to stop these cyclical tides, to prevent another era of unfathomable atrocity. Our memories can either save us, or abandon us. I ask of you to simply remember, for a minute, the history of the Jewish people. Because once you remember, you can never forget.
Written By: Brianna Rauchman