I don't know much about my Jewish family's origins, but I do know some of my ancestors came to the US from Belarus at the turn of the 20th century, fleeing pogroms (anti-Semitic hate crimes), which were common in what was, at that time, Russia's Pale of Settlement. 1/8
I also know that Belarus was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to the end of the war and during that time, most Jewish Belarussians were slaughtered. 2/8
It's a strange, uncomfortable, miraculous happenstance that my ancestors were spared only because they had already fled anti-Semitic violence in the area. 3/8
It was in eighth grade I fully learned about the #Holocaust. It had been mentioned before, but that was the year we were shown the pictures. I remember sitting there, one of two Jews in the class, thinking, "That could've been me. That WOULD'VE been me." 4/8
I knew it wouldn't have mattered that I went to church with my mother every Sunday (where I once was told Jews are going to hell). It wouldn't have mattered that I don't "look Jewish". I knew there would have been no escaping the fact of my birth. 5/8
Now I find myself, once again, in a time and place where anti-Semitic hate crimes and public Nazi rallies are common. I find myself in a country that tears families apart and puts them in cages. I find myself with survivor's guilt. 6/8
I find myself thinking I belong in those cages. I'm supposed to be one of the bodies piling up. It should be me. Why am I so fortunate? Why do I get to live while Roxana Hernández dies? 7/8
I'm not sure how to end this thread. I'm grappling with a lot today. #HolocaustRemembranceDay #abolishICE #closethecamps 8/8
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