This year’s Yom Hashoah Vehagvura (The Holocaust Remembrance Day) was the first Yom Hashoah that I commemorated in Israel. For the most part, it was not very different than any other one that I have commemorated in the past. The speeches and assemblies were fairly similar to the others that I have attended, except for the fact that they were in Hebrew.

Despite all this, one thing was strikingly different. In the middle of my principal’s speech, a piercing siren sounded throughout Israel. The entire room jumped up and stood at attention in remembrance of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis ימח שמם וזכרם .
It is difficult for me to describe this moving experience in words. I was left with the understanding that I no longer had to cope and mourn as an individual. Instead, I mourn together with an entire country and nation who are fighting for shared goals and dreams.

In contrast to how I felt today, unified with of all those around me, the survivor in the article Pastel Nazis, was alone and trapped in his own world. No one identified with his way of dealing with the great nightmare that he lived through. The people around him were petrified and disturbed by his emotions that were conveyed through his drawings.

If someone would have stopped for a few moments to ask him to share his story with them, they might have understood that his childhood was stolen from him and that he was never able to move on to the next stage of his life. If someone would have given him the feeling that I was lucky enough to experience this Yom Hashoah, he might have been able to rebuild his life.