(I recommend reading this whole touching address, which is worth to be taught in Schools…)
Yes, what about us here during that time? Did we know nothing? Could we do nothing? Were we here in the U. S. essentially "nothings" when it comes to that experience? Or are we being handed down only part of our past, part of our experience? Are we living on lies?
In late 1940, a New York City wallpaper hanger who also happened to be a prominent Yiddish poet had felt the need to articulate some troubling thoughts and emotions:
Today the first snow descended.
Children are gliding on sleds in the park,
The air is filled with the clamor of joy.—
Like the children, I love the white snow,
And I have a special love for the month of December. (...)
O dear God, God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob,
Scold me not for this love of mine—
Scold me for something else—
Scold me for not really wearing
The six-towered Star-of-David
And the infinite circle of the yellow patch—
To hearten the sons of Israel in Hangman's-Land
The question gnaws like a gnat in my brain,The question eats at my heart like a worm.
Again, this was in 1940, before the large-scale murder began, before the reports on the torture and murder started dribbling back, tentative at first, but soon inescapable and convergent and clear except to those who did not want to hear, but the question of H. Leivick's identification with the Jews in Naziland was already gnawing at his brain and eating at his heart. What was left of that brain and that heart, I wonder, by the time it was over?