By Judy Reiss
You might not know that I am really a movie buff, and I love to go to the movies. Although the older I get, the more discriminating I become. I don’t go to scary movies, and for the most part I don’t go to a movie that has too much violence in it. I love comedies, for the most part, and of course I love the old musicals and movies that make me feel good. Which brings me to a movie I saw last night.
Although I didn’t know much about it, I went with Malcolm and we saw Woman in Gold. I knew that it starred Helen Mirren, whom I love, so I knew that I would probably love it. And I did.
The reason that I want to share with you my thoughts about this movie is that I started to cry about 5 minutes in and never stopped until the picture ended and the lights came on. It was then that I began to wonder if it was just older people like me who would understand what happened to this amazing woman, other than what was shown on the screen. Because what was shown was a very minor part of how the Nazis treated the Jews during the second World War.
I kept reminding myself that I was born in 1939 and although I was young, I remembered the blackouts, the rationing of food, collecting tinfoil from the gutters to help the war effort, and I do remember that the war was somewhere and that the Nazis were bad people who were doing something bad to lots of people. Back in those days did I know what was really happening? Of course I didn’t. It was only until I studied about World War II that I learned the truth about the atrocities that had taken place. When I got to college and my best friend was a religious Jew, I learned the truth about what had happened not only to the Jews that I didn’t know, but the family of orthodox Jews who were now very close friends. And the more I studied, the more shocked and upset I became until I had to stop writing a paper that I was working on because of the horrendous nightmares that I was having.
So much for me and my problems. My question for today is this, do our children and grandchildren of today have any idea of what actually happened to millions of Jewish families? Do parents now think that this information is just too upsetting for their children? Keep in mind if you go to Austria, Germany and the other countries who banded together in the war, there isn’t a person or a family who were Nazis! Can you believe that c..p? If you ever are able to watch the news clips from the war, you will see thousands and even millions of people throwing flowers at Hitler and screaming “Heil Hitler” and there is nary a one left!
Now I don’t want you to think that I am actually blaming the German or Austrian people. The war is over and that generation is gone. But what I do think is that we need to let our young people know exactly what happened and give them the opportunity to learn, to know and to cry, too. If we don’t teach our children to know what a maniac can do and how good people cannot only be swayed to behave badly, they can allow the worst of themselves to be used to create a hell here on earth.
If the kids don’t know, what is there to prevent something like that to happen again? Actually, who would ever have thought that a group like ISIS could inspire young people to join them and kill and torture men, women and children whose only crime is to worship in a different way. When I was a teenager, I thought that there would never be a time when the Nazis could ever remain on this earth. But I also never ever dreamed of creatures like those who are soiling our earth today. Of course, I never thought, as an adult, that such people could ever have a following, especially not in my America. It just shows you how stupid I really have been.
The time is now, not tomorrow. Teach your children what is right and what is wrong. Don’t let them grow up believing that life is just a bowl of cherries and that they can keep their eyes closed and let evil grow. One way to demonstrate that this can happen anywhere at any time; have them read about World War II and let them learn and understand what happened to the Jews and anyone else who was considered not pure enough and not Aryan enough to live! It will not only be an education for your children, it will educate you as to what can happen unless good people take what they know is right and defeat evil.
Trust me, video games and computer games will not teach your children anything that will help them grow to become happy, healthy hard working and caring residents of our world. Smash their phones and give them a good history book! Oh, and Happy Mothers Day!