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  • For the 6 million who died at the hands of the Nazis, we light 6 candles. For the people who will never see the land of Israel, who will never have grandchildren, who died for nothing except prejudice and cruelty, who were systematically murdered as Hitler and the Nazis sought to exterminate Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, the elderly, the mentally ill. For those who were slaughtered because Hitler finally found his elusive Final Solution. For the 6 million. Zachor, lo tishkach. We shall not forget.

    I went to a Jewish school, and every year on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, our day would be consumed by assemblies and films and speeches. One year we watched The Wave; another, the beginning of Saving Private Ryan; still another, Defiance. We wore white and blue to honor the memory of all those lost, all the nameless. We sang Dona Dona ("Calves are easily bound and slaughtered//never knowing the reason why//But who ever treasures freedom//like the swallow has learned to fly."), sang By the Waters of Babylon, sang Eli, Eli ("Oh lord, my God, I pray that these things never end: the sand and the sea..."). Every year, a Holocaust survivor- each one with a unique story- would come and talk to us, listen to our questions, show us the numbers on their arms if they had them.

    It has been ingrained in my head for as long as I can remember that it is my job to carry on this history to the next generation. If I do not learn it, it will be forgotten; if it is forgotten, it will be relived. I don't care because I'm Jewish, I care because I'm human. I never understood- I don't understand- how there are those who deny that this happened when there are photographs, journals, numbers on arms.

    There is a prayer called the Kaddish. It's said by a mourner whenever there is a quorum- the mourner leads the prayer and the rest respond with "Amen." But on Holocaust Remembrance Day, everyone says Kaddish so that all of the nameless, all those for whom there is no one left to mourn, are honored and remembered.

    6 million Jews. 1.5 million children. A generation lost forever for no reason at all. As we light each of the 6 candles, 1 for each million of our people killed, we say "zachor, lo tishkach." Remember: we shall not forget.
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