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A Jewish Childhood - Reflections to Honor Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) - Paris, 1990 Part 2
Thursday, 11 April 2013 16:30

Each time I go back to trace the atrocity of this war, I remember the wire sculptures I originally saw in 1990, as well as the shrines to the murdered in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which I visit every few years to honor themClick here: Paris' Pere Lachaise Cemetery & Holocaust Memorials

I bring a rose to Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein buried head to head there, and Oscar Wilde, the large monument to honor him, a sphinx with its penis chipped off.

As for the Deportation Memorial, it is never open each time I have come back to Paris more recently. Locked and bolted shut, as if the fear was that the bones would rise again and come back to life, the waking from a bad dream. Perhaps this year I will find it open still below Notre Dame as that restored cathedral restored with new bells, and perhaps the bells will toll for those thousands of people, Jews, Gays, Disabled, who need to be acknowledged. Never Forget.

Perhaps they can toll for the martyrs killed what seems like so long ago. Yet I keep reminding myself never forget. Continue to speak of this atrocity of one man and one country against innocent people who did no more than agree to live one with another in a mix of humanity, in peace and perhaps someday harmony. Click here: La Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation, Paris 32 Insider Tips, Photos and Reviews.

Last June in Paris I spoke with a friend of mine who like myself, is Jewish. She tells me somewhat the same thing my cousin who teaches music theory in Switzerland a few months a year told me. It isn't safe being Jewish here anymore. This was three years ago for my cousin and just last June for my Paris friend.

I am fortunate that where I live now, in Santa Fe, that I do not feel any more than usual, in danger. Anti-Semitism is not as palpable on a day-to-day basis.

Two years ago, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, I attended a concert at my temple. It honored 400 years of music written by Jews. This included choral pieces of liturgical music, as well as more recent composers, Irving Berlin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon. As I was leaving the synagogue, there were two armed Santa Fe Police persons. When I asked them why they were guarding the doors to the main sanctuary.

"Why?" I asked.

 We're guarding the parking lot because of thefts in cars."

Right, I thought to myself, remember Temple Beth Israel in Highland Park, Los Angeles where I used to attend prayer. There were always armed guards during the high holidays.

In some ways, being a Jew is like being in the trenches, always aware of who is around me with various levels of fear. Not unlike an automatic warning system on some days green, others orange or red, high alert.

I am hoping when I am in Paris in June I will not worry about this. After all, one never knows anyway. In the meantime, I will continue to make plans, check out all my favorite museums on line and make a plan.

I will honor those who died those many years ago and say a Kaddish prayer for them. May all of their names be for a blessing, and thanks for reading My Jewish Childhood Blog.