By Amanda Beth Centor

Published by
Kol Ha'eida, June 1999, October 2002
The Jewish Magazine, May 2008

Moshe-Shmuel Szklaniewicz
-- murdered by the Nazis.
Taube Manya
-- murdered by the Nazis.
Hinde Szkl 
-- murdered by the Nazis.
Toba Grossman ...  Yiserael Stern ... Breina Koslowitz
-- murdered by the Nazis.
Michael Goldovsky ... Aaron Rosenwaks ... 
Szprynce Century
-- murdered by the Nazis.
Sara Bromberg ... Benyamin Cytrynblum,
his wife and two children ... 
murdered by the Nazis.
Bronislawa Klarwein
-- murdered by the Nazis.
And on, and on, and on...

Some 200 of my ancestors -- murdered by the Nazis.  Two hundred drops of my blood spilled, one for each relative slaughtered because he or she was Jewish.  Six million drops of blood, one for each innocent murdered in the Holocaust.  Six million.

Adolf Hitler. Nazi Germany.  We can’t forget.

When I think of the millions killed, the six million drops become a river of blood that will flow through my life.   In a sense, I am living the lives my murdered relatives never got to enjoy.  They were deprived of their lives, but their blood is my blood.

I went to Hebrew School to learn the traditions of our people, to keep alive the beliefs that cost six million their lives.  We must never forget.  The Holocaust is fading from memory, and we must not allow this to happen.  Six million drops of blood.  From the murdered, to my grandparents, my parents, to me.  And from me to my children, and their generations.

Though we can never fully feel the horrors of the Holocaust itself -- the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the day to day life of death -- we can learn from those who were there, murdered and survivors.

A Jewish proverb states there’s a piece of every Jew’s soul inside of each of us.  That’s how I remember.  I can’t begin to imagine what they lived through.  Yet they are all a part of me.  I am each of them, just as each of them was a part of me waiting to be born.  That part of them could never die.  My children will be their children.

Sometimes I’m not grateful for all I have.  I get upset over little things.  Then I realize that I’m really lucky.  I have a loving family, a roof over my head, friends, food to eat, and most precious of all, life itself.

In public school, we discussed the horrors and tragedies of World War II.  We talked about the irony that there were white houses just down the road from the blackness of the concentration camps.  And the local citizens in their white houses actually smelled the burning flesh, and they  did nothing to stop the Nazis.  Nothing.   Then I asked a question I knew could not be answered.  I asked, “Why?”  I asked why would somebody do that?  I looked at my teacher, and she, a devout Catholic, answered,  “Nobody knows.” 

Maybe God knows.  Or, maybe even God is at a loss to answer my question.  Maybe there is no answer -- even from the Almighty. 

During my next class, as I was walking alone, I started to cry.  I wondered, would  there ever be another Holocaust?  My answer was the long, empty sounds of the lonely corridor echoing around me as I slowly headed back to class.

Me, 200 murdered relatives and six million drops of blood.

I will remember.

                                                                                    ©2001 Amanda Centor