Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel is a highly respected day. The day begins with the evening, when there is usually a ceremony in which we attempt to understand an ounce of what Six Million is. We attempt to understand what happened, and we bow our heads in memory. In the morning, there is a second ceremony, this time held in school. At ten o'clock a siren goes off to mark the moment of silence, during which no one moves, or makes a sound. Cars stop in the street and people stand beside their cars with bowed heads. Everyone is absorbed in memories of what the Holocaust is to them. A memory of a ceremony, an actual memory, a relative, or some other person who just told you his/her story.


When asked to react to the story 'Pastel Nazis', I could think of nothing but a short story that in my opinion, would explain Mr. Peer's behavior when coloring the pictures. While in class, there were many theories as to why he did it, the prominent among them saying that he was stuck in his childhood because he had no chance to grow up properly. But while it makes sense – a lot of sense, it didn't sit quite right by me.

I decided to write the story down, in a short amount of space, as my reaction to the piece. I would be grateful if you would read it.

"Moise Peer looked at the fading pictures hanging by his desk. He saw all the patches where they had faded. And he was torn. On the one hand, he wanted them to fade, he wanted the memories, the pain to fade away. He wanted them gone.

But there were his books, which he had written for the opposite reason. He had written them so the world would not forget. Not ever. How could he force the world to forget, if he himself had no will to?

Moise knew that there was another reason for his books. He had written them because he knew that as much as he may will it, the memories will never leave. As much as he may want it, the memories would not stop while the world moves on.

He also understood, that deep down, deep deep down, inside him, he didn't want t forget. He wanted to remember those painful things, so that he would not think himself a freak as so many did. He needed to remember.

Moise pulled out his pencil case, filled with pastels. He pulled out a yellow, a green, an orange. A pink. He pulled them out because the dark colors, the browns and reds and blacks had run our, both figuratively and physically during the war. So he would use what he had, as he had learned to do back at the camp. You don't have to use more than absolutely necessary. So he painted. Because he needed to remember the Nazis, even if they are now pastel."

I do not even hope to capture the man's true feeling, but I may have captured an iota of what it was like, and that is all I wanted.