This past Tuesday, April 29, I had the fortunate opportunity to address the Glenwood Springs Sunrise Rotary Club with a program titled, “The Holocaust: A View of Humanity and Inhumanity,” in recognition of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Commemoration Day on May 1.
I have conducted similar programs in the past for the Aspen and Snowmass Rotary Clubs, Colorado Mountain College, Aspen Jewish Congregation Young Leadership Group, and Aspen Middle School (as well as in Miami and New Orleans).
Today, I anxiously opened both our local papers in anticipation of some sort of program, commemoration or memorial to the 6 million Jews and more than 11 million people total who were exterminated at the hands of an evil Nazi regime, which focused more of its efforts on a Final Solution, than winning World War II.
To my dismay, the only mention of Holocaust in either paper was that the Denver legislature had compared (rightfully) the slaughter of the American Indians to the Holocaust.
But, with three (or more) Jewish congregations in Aspen, a learned organization such as the Aspen Institute, and one of the highest educational levels among a population in the United States, it is truly disconcerting that we did not have a community Holocaust memorial.
Amongst my other activities, I now have two new missions in life, which I hope others will step up to join me in fulfilling:
1). Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley should have an annual community Holocaust commemoration on Yom Hashoah (unless on Shabbat), which I will gladly organize and serve as presenter, moderator or facilitator (at no cost), and;
2). We need to raise the money for a community Holocaust Memorial.
Nobel Prize winning author Elie Wiesel once said of the Holocaust: “Not all the victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims.”
In the face of relevant issues like parking, curves, straight-shots and downtown fire pits, we might try not to forget the words: Never again!
Bennett A. Bramson