Over the past few months I have read many articles and listened to many speeches by many prominent and educated people concerning the upcoming Presidential election. I am also an educated person, though I doubt that my education came from the same place of wisdom that these writers and speakers received theirs. They were fortunate to receive their education, and I am unfortunate in mine. I was educated with Holocaust wisdom and it is from my unique perspective that I would like to share my thoughts about the upcoming election.
I am a Holocaust survivor, the only one from my large family to endure this horrible period of world history. I remember life before the political tides turned in Eastern Europe and also the horrors of the regime change when Hitler (may his name be erased) came to power.
Jews and Gentiles had lived and worked side by side. Many of my neighbors in Chrzanow would leave to do business for the week and would return home for the Sabbath. I remember hearing the whistle of the “Shabbos train” that would arrive from Katowic ½ hour before Sabbath started.
Our world turned upside down around the time I was ten years old. Germany was in an economic recession and unemployment and poverty was prevalent. Along came a very dynamic and charismatic speaker who offered the German people an excuse for their problems. Hitler targeted the successful and prosperous businessmen and convinced the desperate and unemployed that if they got rid of these flourishing citizens their lives would be turned around and there would be a German recovery.
I cannot help but apply the principle “He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” As I listen to the Presidential candidates offer solutions and proposals to stop the recession that we are experiencing in America, one offers positive solutions and the other seeks to vilify the rich and to suggest taking away from some to enable the livelihood of others.
When I came to America, the Goldeneh Medina (the golden country,) the land “of liberty and justice for all”, I could not believe that such freedom could exist. I am so grateful to America for all the grand opportunities that were available to me. From the ashes of my life in Europe my husband and I were willing and able to work hard, save money and build a life for our children and grandchildren. America was good to us, not because it gave us entitlements or hand outs in any way, but rather because it provided us with a capitalistic economy that rewarded our hard work and dedication to improve ourselves.
Imagine my dismay to feel that America, the country that saved me and my husband all those years ago is being led in the direction of the European countries that are succumbing to the taunts of anti-semitism and fiscal crisis.
I fear for the survival of the State of Israel, America’s only ally in the Middle East and the only other place of salvation for the Jewish people. I am so proud of the placement in the world that Israel enjoys; foremost in technology, start-up businesses, education and military advancements. Until recently Israel and America enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship and our leaders of state were on excellent diplomatic and affable terms.
I am terribly distressed to see this turn of events in the past few years. Whatever satisfaction I have felt since I came as a war refugee so many years ago, I am losing in the face of the current situation in America. As one who was educated in the School of Holocaust Wisdom, I beseech you dear voter to cast your vote with the candidate who is offering positive solutions and opportunities for growth, and not with the candidate who is “Hopeless and Changeless”.
Fran Laufer is a Holocaust survivor living in New York. She is the author of “A Vow Fulfilled.”