Last night we were all jolted out of our comfortable lives with the news of the attacks in Paris by what appears to be, once again, the handiwork of radical Islamists. I felt distress as the waves of Twitter updates came cascading in from Europe. Distress at the live updates, the storming of the Bataclan Theatre, the rising body counts, the survivor descriptions of what was unfolding, the young people being murdered on a Friday night out. I felt distress at sitting on the couch in a warm comfortable home reading the updates. But what can one do?
So I sat there, maybe like you, feeling helpless. Maybe feeling guilty as well, for at times lately it seems as if I am rushing through my life with no time or appreciation for the little things, which, in truth, are the only things that matter.
Saturday morning now. After getting more updates on the latest crimes against humanity in Europe, I think back to an email I got this week from a producer of an about to be released film that features some of my work as a Holocaust/World War II educator, and as a “connector” between Holocaust survivors and their American soldier-liberators. He says ‘thank you’ for my help, my input and my interview, and that the documentary is ready for viewing with a private code, before its world premiere on Nov. 19th.
But I’ve been in documentaries before, and I’m busy, so I had put it off. Until just now, when I watched it for the first time.
And the light bulb just went off, like the kid in the class who finally gets the ‘big picture’. Like the 90 year old liberator to whom I had introduced people he saved 62 years ago, and to whom I taught about the Holocaust-for the first time in his life– who proclaimed excitedly “Yes! Yes! Now I know what I fought for!” And although on some level I have always ‘gotten it’, I see more clearly that this is what I am teaching for, and speaking for, and writing about-that this is what I am here to do-“to prevent one of history’s darkest chapters from repeating.”
We were at the last reunion of the 30th Infantry Veterans of World War II in Nashville, where I met Evelyn Marcus, the daughter of survivors and whose mom was liberated on the Train near Magdeburg in 1945. Raised in the Netherlands, she emigrated to the USA about a dozen years ago, due in large part to a rising wave of antisemitism sweeping that country, and Europe. And now she confronts it, after meeting her mother’s actual American liberators, and returns to the Netherlands for a deeper understanding of what is happening. And she is determined to make a difference.
And so am I. It’s what we do to honor the lives stolen, and to remember that we are all part of humanity and each one of us has a responsibility, and a role to play. I hope you have an opportunity to see the film. Maybe it’s time to ‘get it’ that ‘never again is now’.
My name is Evelyn Markus. I am a Jew. I was born and raised in the Netherlands where my family history goes back more than 400 years. I grew up in the 60s and 70s in the world’s most liberal city –Amsterdam, where I enjoyed life with my long-time partner, Rosa. But 15 years ago, things started to change.
We noticed and personally experienced rising anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe. As second-generation Holocaust survivors, we sensed a familiar evil on the horizon. In 2004, we decided to leave Europe for the United States, the nation that liberated my family from the horrors of the Holocaust.
70 years later, I now understand the need to fight for freedom and the importance of acting on principles. America has molded my mission -–to tell the world, through my story —that Never Again Is Now.
Watch the trailer.
The film premieres on TheBlaze TV on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 8PM. It will be released later to larger outlets, like Amazon. You can also arrange a private screening at the contact page.
Read about the cast
“If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example.”
“Never in our training were we taught to be a humanitarian. We were taught to be soldiers.”
“It really is an incredible thing and I think about it all the time. I think it’s really important to keep the memory and the history alive.”
“My message was to make up for what Hitler destroyed. That was my function in life.”
“Life in the Netherlands if you are Jewish and you’re not ashamed of your Jewishness is a predicament”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“The Jews were killed for the simple fact that they were Jews, and that made a very deep impression on me.”
Rabbi Raphael Evers
“These are the final struggles of a lost fight. Jewish life in Holland is almost non-existent. In that regard, Hitler won.”
Leon de Winter
“At the end of the day for my children, if they want to live a Jewish life, I would honestly not advise them to stay in Europe.”
“If you feel what happens, the horror of it, and you feel the pain of individuals it’s so much more important than if you just know facts.”
“I think if you have an opportunity to speak for those who are voiceless, who might be victims, I think it’s a responsibility.”