For many children, story time with a grandparent is a moment of pure joy. But my Holocaust survivor Grandma Ester recounted dire reminders of the hatred that waits in the crevices of society, like a monster under the bed. She didn’t worry that I was too young for the most brutal and disturbing details, because she was too young when it happened to her. She would not shield me from the horror because that would have been a dishonest telling of the terrors she experienced.
My life was never the same after hearing her stories. I am burdened with the knowledge and the duty that most progeny of Holocaust survivors know too well: to keep the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust alive, or be doomed to see them happen again and again. I am alarmed by the rise of unabashed antisemitism in our culture. Since Twitter was taken over late last year by Elon Musk, who vowed to make the platform the “digital town square” for free speech by loosening content restrictions, the frequency of antisemitic tweets has more than doubled. Offline, antisemitic hate crimes rose at least 20% in 2021, and it’s believed that hate crimes further increased in 2022.
The above excerpt was originally published in Forward.
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