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Published Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 3:08 pm

A Terrible Ratio

By Herbert Belkin

Almost every day newspapers report the deaths of Holocaust survivors. What German brutality could not do, advancing years can, as the survivors live out their years. This is not the twilight of the survivors, it is deep night and soon the world will not have living witnesses of how quickly the veneer of civilization can be stripped to reveal the depth of immorality.

The wonder of the survivors is not only that they physically survived the demonic efforts to kill them, but also how they kept their minds intact when every morning they woke and questioned whether this would be their last day. The fact is that many of them, while surviving physically, could not escape the psychological damage that would cloud their lives thereafter. All the more credit and honor to those survivors who escaped the death camps with body and mind intact and could provide witness to the world that what happened to them must not happen again. The lives of these indomitable men and women stand as examples of the unflagging human spirit that stands in defiance of evil.

But as we honor survivors and their testament to courage, we must also remember and revere those who did not survive. There is a terrible ratio of survivors to those who perished in the Holocaust. That ratio is 30 to 1; for every survivor, 30 Jews were murdered by the inhuman German regime. We know the names and faces of the survivors, but faded from history are the names and faces of those lost in the ashes of Auschwitz. We must honor and learn from the survivors who are still with us, but always remember that for every Jew who survived, 30 Jews did not.

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