Last Thursday, Mom, Tom, the boys, and I spent the morning at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Although we knew the story, although I studied the Holocaust extensively in college, although I thought I knew what to expect, we all of us were rendered silent and emotional. We each listened intently to the audio tour, bearing witness to the horrors and courage and human spirit the Frank family (and millions of others) endured and demonstrated.
Today, just two days later, I am back in America and watching with a heavy, outraged, disgusted heart the white supremacists marching and beating peaceful counter-protestors in Charlottesville, VA. Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency, three are dead, dozens are injured. And that's just the physical damage. Imagine the psyches of Americans of color right now, as white men and woman wave confederate flags and scream about "taking our country back." Imagine how Jews watching Americans raise their arms in Sieg Heil salutes, swastikas waving at their sides (see below) must feel.
72 years separates the end of World War II and now. 72 years. 72 years since Anne Frank was murdered after hiding for two years in a dark annex. 72 years since the hate-filled Hitler took his own life in cowardly fashion. Less than that between the turbulent Civil Rights movement in America and now. What are we doing?
I am nearly speechless. I am sick to my stomach and desperately sad to be back in this country after enjoying two weeks in beautifully progressive, largely tolerant places. I'll leave you with this, courtesy of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.