ECTR Chairman guest of the 2009 USHMM Reconciliation Forum

12-03-2009

On the 12th of March 2009, ECTR Chairman Aleksander Kwaśniewski participated in the 2009 Reconciliation Forum, organized by the United States Holocaust Museum. 

After a brief introduction about the Holocaust museum by the curator Sara Bloomfield, the ECTR Chairman spoke from a political perspective and solemnly reminded the audience that six million people died the  Holocaust.  Kwasniewski said that Poland has been reclaiming  its  Jewish past and stressed that the act of remembering is the key for reconciliation. For the first time ever, Jewish and Polish citizens  have been sharing their experiences from the past and working together to ensure that the future remains peaceful. However, the statement that atrocities such as the Holocaust will never happen again has not come to fruition. Other nations have experienced similar crises such as Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan to name a few. Kwasniewski stressed that the world must remember suffering to prevent future calamities. He also stated that this conference is a step in the right direction by talking about the atrocities that affect the world today—genocide and terrorism.

Nesse Godin, a survivor of the Holocaust, gave an emotional account of her experience. She set the tone by stating that she does not give speeches but instead shared the emotions she felt during her childhood. She spoke of the feeling of hatred, fear, hunger and told us of her daily life in a ghetto, labor camps, a concentrations camp, and a death march as a young girl. It was evident that Godin had a hard time sharing the things she saw. She prayed night and day to live another moment until she did not want to live anymore. Other Jewish prisoners in the camp told Godin that she had to survive in order to spread the word of what happened to prevent atrocities in the future. Godin successfully accomplished this mission and her captivating speech today was proof that we all need to share memories of past hatred and fear in order to reconcile our differences. On an end note, these speakers demonstrated that we all must take memories to actions and that each and every one of us has a responsibility to make the world a better place.