Forgetting Is Dangerous

When memory dies
In the face of lies
Hope is crushed forever
And prayers are severed
And dreams are forsaken …
But if we awaken
And dare to care
All things are possible
Even undoing future genocides;
Even preserving our planet earth;
We have the power
To plant a flower
To love a child,
To save a tree,
To be free …
To be one
With the rising sun …
But only
If we remember
That forgetting is dangerous

— Sonia Weitz

Holocaust survivor Sonia Schreiber Weitz was eleven years old when Germany invaded Poland. In 1941, her family was forced into the Kraków ghetto. From the ghetto, Sonia’s mother was sent to the Bełżec extermination camp, where she was murdered. In 1943, Sonia, her sister Blanca, and her father were sent to the Plaszów forced labor camp. Sonia and Blanca were then sent to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Venusberg, and finally to the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. Sonia was 16 years old when U.S. troops liberated her and Blanca, together with 85,000 other prisoners, from Mauthausen in May 1945. Sonia and Blanca spent three years in a displaced-persons camp after the war, waiting for relatives to claim them, but no other family members survived.

[Research note: Sonia Weitz, 81; Holocaust survivor kept history alive]