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A Lesson From Tragedy


Since my father told me about his experience in World War II, seeing a freshly liberated Nazi concentration camp, I have been very interested in the Holocaust.  Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Richmond Holocaust Museum, which I highly recommend.  While I am steeped in the horrible atrocities committed against the Jews, I’ve become interested in the aftermath, after the surviving Jews were put into Displaced Persons (DP) camps.  Unfortunately, there was no plan after that, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to just languish in these camps, sometimes for years.  From concentration camps to DP camps, they were still not free.

So, here are many thousands of good, decent people who just want a better life.  Is there a lesson for us today?

Various Jewish organizations in the U.S. saw the problem and tried to help.  They sent teachers to teach local languages to the Jews, who mostly spoke Yiddish.  They sent teachers to teach sewing, baking, carpentry, etc.  It was not a major coordinated program by all Jewish organizations.  Each synagogue sent whomever was willing to go, to teach whatever they knew.  By all accounts, these teachers were a big help in helping the survivors adjust and find work.

Now, draw a comparison to the flood of refugees from Latin America.  Rather than a revolving door at the border, why don’t individual Hispanic organizations send whomever is willing to go, to teach whatever they know, to the various refugee holding areas in this country?  They could teach English, keyboard skills, car mechanics, etc. 

It just seems wasteful to buy plane tickets for people to leave, when we have 6.8 million unfilled jobs?

If Jewish organizations could help their refugees after World War II, without government involvement, why can’t Hispanic organizations do the same today?

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