Luis C Cardenas
Holocaust Remembrance Leizer & Horowits Scholarships
Dr./ Professor Schimmel
The privilege to have been able to see Holocaust survivors, German Nazis descendants reconcile is history in the making itself. Seeing this unfold was captivating. Till this day my generation and future
generations will never comprehend how such atrocities took place as the world watched. Watching the
German descendants of Nazis with Holocaust survivors and descendants reconcile with tears and long embraces was emotional and powerful to me. This was something that I was not prepared to watch, and
it showed as tears started to roll down my face. As a Marine of 20yrs of services I have seen my share of injustice and atrocities in my 3 deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, but not even those combat
tours could have prepared me for the stories I would hear as I watched Hope in the face of Isolation. Seeing and listening to what the Holocaust survivors had to endure made me mad and helpless at the
same time. Mad because I felt a sense of guilt for not having been born in an earlier time and have been able to fight the Nazis just like I fought the terrorist Fallujah Iraq. Hearing Ruth Steinfeld speak about her
experiences as a young girl is something that is unfathomable. The inner strength of Ruth to be able to
forgive the German Nazis is something that speaks volume of her generation. Also, I admired her even more when she correlates the ability to forgive, to an act of God and sensing his presence when forgiving the German lady that took her in. Hearing her speak and watching Holocaust survivors and German Nazis reconcile was a powerful and a life lesson to me and hopefully for future generations.
I firmly believe that the March has given me the strength and knowledge to better raise my three sons. This part of history will never be forgotten and needs to be talked about with all future generations
to come. We currently live in a time when individuals get offended or that their rights are being violated because they must wear a mask or stay home quarantined for two weeks. This is an example how
unaware they are of world history. Jews had to hide in basements, attics, walls, and anywhere they could escape the Nazis. It demonstrates to me that my current generation feels invincible and that history wont / can’t/ or is not able to repeat itself. There needs to be a change and more awareness needs to be brought to The March of Remembrance. We must continue to take a stand for antisemitism and
continue to give a platform to the survivors, so they are aware that they are not forgotten and also to
give them an opportunity to grief.
Even though, I may never understand how so much hatred was created towards Jews and other groups that were deemed “not a pure race” by Hitler. I am confident that human perseverance was
always present as the Jews face adversity and death. This gives me hope, because in the present day the Holocaust survivors continue to show amazing levels of personal conviction, courage, grace and humility. All those qualities where transparent in the stories they shared.