Today is Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Nearly 6 million innocent lives extinguished for being Jews. Anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million of these lives were children.
These numbers are unfathomable. Each life a unique, unrepeatable point; an individual with hopes, fears, passions, and goals. These are gone forever. What was lost is unimaginable. The future achievements and accomplishments of each of these individuals lost to the gas chambers.
There are several memorials that represent this all too clearly. Two are at the US Holocaust Museum in DC. One is a sculpture of a huge pile of shoes. Lives discarded as a easily as one discards shoes. These personal items often all that was left of these lives.
The second is the memorial for a Jewish town wiped from the map. It's two stories of photographs of the town and its people. Pictures of weddings, parades, shops, friends, lovers. All gone, consumed by hate.
The last is the Children's Memorial at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem. An underground structure, dark and cool. There are memorial candles and mirrors reflecting these candles. The effect is haunting. An infinity of tiny lights shining in this cold dark place. What brightness that could have come from these lives that we will never know?
An excellent resource: The Holocaust Wing of the Jewish Virtual Library
Never Forget. Never Again.