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Letter: Remembering Holocaust Survivors

(Ed.’s note: Last June Stan Ronell spoke to a group of high school students at Floral Park High School as part of the “Adopt a Survivor” program with which he is involved. Ms. Downes sent the following note and poem to him and it is printed here at his request.)

Dear Mr. Ronell:

Thank you for coming to Floral Park Memorial High School to share your experiences with my history class. I admire your efforts to preserve the memory of all those murdered in the Holocaust. I cannot truly imagine the horrors you endured, but I promise that I will not let the world forget your story.

I believe that we all are woven together by a human connection and I will do everything in my power to work for good and healing for the future of the world. With so much conflict still existing in the world, it is clear that the establishment of peace must and will win because evil leaves all the people of this beautiful earth scarred by foolish prejudices. As a carrier of your memory, I move into the future with a deepened commitment to understanding and harmony in our time.

I have enclosed a piece of original poetry entitled I Will Remember.

Kathleen A. Downes

I Will Remember

An original poem by Kathleen Downes

When history blazes forward
I will not forget you
I will carry your story with mine
To sow the seeds of peace
For a better tomorrow

I will forget the horrors
That flashed before your eyes
Each voice shouting “remember!”
Is etched inside my mind

I come forward the solemn carrier
Of your painful memories
And promise to be certain
That the world holds your voice

History has judged the murderers
Love will win
And we are reminded
That no God calls for the untimely death of innocence

And so in our different tongues, different songs, different colors
Let the hands of the world rise
In prayer to remember
That after ashes
After pain
After the shouts of ruthless bestiality
Good triumphs
Miracles endure
And faith
Heavy with the wounds
Still flies like a butterfly
Into the light