So, Norman isn’t the first survivor I have met or photographed. His willingness to speak about the experience, along with his eloquence, was new. He shares his story tirelessly with groups in the Palm Beach County area in hopes of keeping the memories of the dead alive. Those who hear him and see his mementos must feel as touched as I did.
How he survived is not so important. Those who lived through the hell of the Holocaust all have a tale. He cannot explain why he survived and others didn’t, except to say it was an act of providence. The violence and hatred he saw is unimaginable. That he and others can live without overbearing pain and paralysis makes him and his fellow survivors super human. That is important.
But, what is more important is that we never forget them and that the carnage will never be repeated.
We stood in mourning at the American Cemetery with people from all over the world. All came knowing the dead even if we weren’t related by anything other than our sadness. Kids mostly lie at rest. Carerra marble stones don’t have dates or places of birth. The dead came from somewhere in the US. Had mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. Deprived of their life for no reason other than their desire to stop the madness and mayhem of State murder, all believing they were doing right for the right reasons. Many of their brothers lie else where, closer to home. We felt them, too.
There is silence in the place, people in the graves have muffled voices. I wanted to unearth the remains, hug the bodies and say thanks. But when I went with the group and saw this statue, my eyes dried a bit and my heart filled with rage. I looked at the figure and it said to me, arms and voice raised, “WHY WAR.”