Not many times can I say that being a Historian has brought me heartache, but I experienced it last night. After watching The World Wars on History channel this week, I had a dream – or nightmare to be more specific- that Hitler and the monstrosities he caused were happening now. He was eradicating the Jewish and multi-racial friends and family that I love beyond words. We were blockaded in an abandoned school waiting to see who was going to go down this black hall next. One after one went some of my cousins, my sisters, my husband, my friend’s husband, my brother-in-law. I thought they would take me next but they didn’t. Those of us who met the criteria could stay, but we had to watch what was happening. I was trapped in the dream, crying out for the loss my family, my sister and friend’s husbands and in complete and utter shock, watching everyone around me falling apart with Hitler and Mussolini laughing at our sorrow. Cold, painful fright gripped me. I wanted out of the school, out of my dream and somehow I finally woke myself up.
Unconscious tears had wet my cheeks and I turned seeing the familiar body-shaped lump in the bed next to me… my husband. I woke him up, causing him to fret and gently he peeled our covers away, asking, “What’s wrong with you? You’re sweating.”
I clung to him, saying I’d had a nightmare, but it was real! I couldn’t help but think if World War II had happened now and those monsters were around, the days I know as history would be my present day. No more loved ones, no more family, no more incredible people in the world.
My husband tried to pacify me but I couldn’t go back to sleep. Instead, I thought about what it would have truly been like to live in Europe during the 1940s. Those tyrants were real back then and someone had gone through what I’d experienced in my dream in their own life and time. How frightened and devastated those poor people must have been! Through my dream, I had the tiniest glimpse into that world and it was a deathly scary place. My mind can only imagine what it would have been like, but real, beautiful people lived through it.
So today, more than ever, I mourn and ache for those lost during the Holocaust – whether they were the ones who perished or if they were broken ones who watched a loved one be taken, abused, and killed. I didn’t know any of them personally, but I do know them in spirit. They live in the diverse people I know in my life right now. They are the ones, should history ever repeat itself, I would always fight for even when they can’t fight for themselves.