After visiting the Holocaust Museum just outside Jerusalem last week, as part of a 12 day sojourn, there’s an iconic image that is haunting and seared into my brain. I stood looking at it for a while and eventually moved on but I felt the need to revisit it and so kept coming back to it several times.
It was if the man featured was trying to tell me something.
The photos is called The Last Jew in Vinnitsa and sitting on the edge of a pit, knowing the fate that awaits him moments away is the same as those that have gone before and he can see in the pit in front of him, he seems to be looking at the camera and pleading with me and the world generally, not to forget him.
I won’t, and neither should any of us. Ever. It’s the least we can do.
The thing is with the rise of anti semitism in the West, it could easily happen again. It reminds me of the Pastor Martin Niemoller piece he wrote in the mid 1940’s –
‘First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me’.