When I was in elementary school, there was an elderly teacher’s aide who was very strict but that I liked a lot because she talked to me about books.
When we were in third grade, and reading a book that touched on the Holocaust (I think it was Number the Stars), our teacher asked her to come and speak with us.
She came in, this strict but kind old woman, and she told us about being a little girl in Nazi Germany being raised by a single father, a professional bookbinder. She and her father, they sheltered Jews on their way out of the country. She told us about watching her father get beaten in front of her, and still the Nazis couldn’t find the Jews in their house. She told us this, and she cried. She told us she didn’t know if any of those people made it all the way out alive. Before the end of the war, her father was dead. And she was very proud of him.
I went home that day and told my parents about it. My dad told me about my grandfather, and his time in WWII. He was hard of hearing, bordering on deaf in later years, which made it very hard to get into the military, let alone advance. But he ended up an emotional expert surveyor, planning out strikes with math because they didn’t have computers yet. He was often in an enemy zone before everyone else.
So my dad went into the closet and pulled out a sword. A German ceremonial sword. The advance squad had run into a town and my grandpa led the fight that ended in their surrender, taking advantage of the element of surprise. And that was the sword they surrendered to him. He, a man who could barely hear them, heard the Nazi surrender.
And as a kid, I held the sword and it was very heavy. These days, it still is. My brother calls me and tells me he has registered on an underground network as a safe house, for muslims, for gay kids. He asks me for resources.
I have seen a lot of posts lately about the bomb threats against temples and the desecration of Jewish buildings. And I want all my Jewish followers to know that if they want to know if the non-Jews in here would hide them, I am one. I’m not Jewish but standing against nazis is in my blood. It should be in everyone’s.
Please know that you are not alone. These neo-nazis have so many targets based on race, nationality, sexuality. But I won’t forget that their anti-semitism is at the root of so much.