“The Nazis didn’t just kill the Jews; they made use of every inch of them. Women’s hair was shaved off and weaved into blankets for Nazi soldiers. Fat from Jews’ bodies was used to make soap. Gold teeth were pulled out to make gold bars for the Reichsbank. 384,000 pairs of men’s shoes were sent to Germany from Auschwitz. 646,000 men’s suits. 184,000 pairs of eyeglasses.
The most frightening thing is not the gas chambers or the crematoria. It’s the rooms piled to the ceiling with children’s shoes. That gives you have an idea what the Holocaust was. Shoes. Once worn by real people.” – via jewishhistory.org

In the Holocaust Museum in DC, they have a room just for the shoes and hair of the victims. It’s really startling to see it so up close since it makes you realize the sheer scale of this. The pile of hair in the museum weighs several tons, and bear in mind that this several ton pile of hair is only but a small fraction of all of the horrible things found in the camps.

Somewhere in those shoes were the shoes of my great aunts and their children. 

Same with eyeglasses.

It’s something I can never, ever forget.




The above are photos I took at Auschwitz. The shoes and suitcases were each encased in a hallway – kept behind glass on both sides. And again comprise only a fraction of what the Nazis took.

Now the significance of these collections can not be understated or undermined, the horrors of the Holocaust, the Shoah, are embodied in these piles of stolen clothing and cases.

We look at them and recoil, promising that we’ll never forget and yet the systematic slaughter of human beings continues around the world.

In different places, for different reasons. Who didn’t learn the lesson? Who still needs to be reached? Who needs to be protected?

Do not forget. Remember and react. Radical evil is not a memory of the past, it is a present and continuous force.

Reblogging in honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day: 70 year anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps

It’s International Holocaust – Shoah Remembrance day again, but this year the remembrance feels weighted with the fear of repetition. With more and more stories springing up of violence against Jews in Europe and the potential of candidacy for the US president by a proto-Hitleresque Trump who is targeting Muslims and immigrants in the place of Jews.

This history is still so fresh and clearly not relegated to the backs of history books. There is still bonedust intermingled with the dirt at Auschwitz. We cannot forget, we must not repeat.

Annual reblog of remembrance. But this year I also have a plea, forgive me if it is a little Christian-centric, but I feel it is U.S. Christians who most need a note of reminder or this day considering our current political situation.

Today we remember the price paid by the victims of racism, anti-semitism, ableism, homophobia, anti-intellectualism, nationalism, apathy, and hate. 6 million+ Jews, 250,000+ disabled people, 200,000+ Roma, millions of prisoners of war plus thousands more of Jehovah’s witnesses, Catholics, homosexuals, intellectuals, etc.

It has been said: “ Never Again” – what good is that if we do not back it up with actions?

Love more than we hate, open our arms to refugees fleeing in terror, longing for peace and welcoming. Open our minds to the truth of science which is the uncovering of the fingerprints of God on our universe. The truth takes nothing away from faith. Loving those who pray differently than you or not at all, or who love differently than you, or who experence the world differently than you takes nothing from you except your fear.

Leave your fear behind and seek the path of radical love which requires actions over words. Be hot, be forceful, do not wait for heaven on earth, make heaven on earth where there is neither male nor female, gentile or Jew, slave or free. The world is steeped in blood, and bone, and ash, the only recompense for our hate. Imagine how much greater the recompense of our love will be.