I’ve always wondered where the expression in the title originated. Since I’m feeling a bit unwell and have a borrowed laptop to work on (Thanks, Paul!) while mine is “under the …
I’ve always wondered where the expression in the title originated. Since I’m feeling a bit unwell and have a borrowed laptop to work on (Thanks, Paul!) while mine is “under the weather,” I immediately asked the Google, aka my electronic buddy—to whom I affectionately refer as “T.G.”
“The phrase originated as an Americanism, but it has its roots in an older British nautical term,” the internet know-it-all informed me. “To be under the weather is to ride out a storm in protected anchorage. In the later American sense,” T.G. continued, “it is a metaphor for resting quietly until conditions improve.”
“So it would appear that I am not only under the weather, but I’m also heart-sick,” I muttered to myself, as the house is far too quiet these days.
About a month ago, Temple Agudas Achim President of the Board Judy Siegel asked me to attend an event in Livingston Manor, NY. “We’re dedicating the Agudas Achim Daffodil Garden,” Judy said, “to honor the 1.5 million children lost in the Holocaust.”
I learned that there would be a group of students from the Livingston Manor Central School District (LMCSD), and that Holocaust survivors Marlene Wertheim and Eva Bocskor would speak about their horrific experience as children while World War II (1939-1945) ravaged Europe.
“Welcome friends, neighbors, learners and teachers,” Wertheim began after a brief introduction. “We all have it within us to learn as well as to teach. We think about those who couldn’t be here today and wonder what kind of lives might they have led, and what contributions they might have made… We also have to think about the children and their lives of slave labor and starvation in the concentration camps, which resulted in the deaths of millions.”
Marlene was only five years old when Adolf Hitler’s plan to “exterminate, expel and enslave” millions who were not Nazi sympathizers was put into action. “My experience as a child haunted me my whole life,” Marlene shared with us that day. “The screaming, the crying and the shooting. Fortunately, some of the children survived to tell the story from their point of view.”
Eva also spoke eloquently and emotionally about her experience in Hungary at the age of four and a half. “I’m glad to be here and able to tell the children about what happened. My grandmother learned of Hitler’s regiment entering Hungary in 1944, and she put my grandfather in a mental institution so that he would be safe,” she said, “because they were not looking there. We could not trust our friends or neighbors, because they were identifying Jews, fearing repercussions. I am very happy to be here in the U.S.A.,” Bosckor said in conclusion. “My heart goes out to all of the children killed during the Holocaust.”
As the women’s stories were told that afternoon, I felt sick. I’m old enough to recall my own parents and grandparents discussing the Holocaust, how it affected untold millions. Although the killing of six million Jews at the hands of Hitler is mind-numbing, the Temple’s director of education, Tobi Innerfield, was quick to inform the students present that while the majority of Holocaust victims were Jewish, Hitler also sought to rid Germany and the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses, people of color, homosexuals and people with disabilities.
After the daffodil garden commemoration ceremony, I asked Judy Siegel for her thoughts. “Having Marlene and Eva there to share their real-life memories with us was a true gift. A reminder of the importance of finding kindness and beauty despite the horrors we endure. I’m excited that long after we are gone,” Judy said, “that every year those beautiful flowers will spring up in a burst of yellow to honor the 1.5 million children that never had a chance to grow up.”
For those conspiracy theorists out there who continue to deny that it happened, who believe that the Holocaust is “a myth, fabrication, or exaggeration” as Wikipedia defines “Holocaust Deniers,” there is “predetermined evidence to the contrary.”
Holocaust denial is considered a “serious societal problem in many places where it occurs, and is illegal in Israel and many European countries.” And it makes me sick.
The Daffodil Project “aspires to build a worldwide Living Holocaust Memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils in remembrance of those whose lives were lost and for the children suffering in humanitarian crises in the world today.”
I may be a little “under the weather,” but not so impaired as not to understand that it’s up to the next generation (IMHO) to keep history alive, carry the torch and “never forget.” Teach them well and let them lead the way.
For more information, visit www.daffodilproject.net.
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