Yesterday, needing to get out of the house despite my poor diet of ice chips and freezie pops, I marshalled my energy and walked down to the library. It’s only about a half-mile, maybe less, but I felt drained and tired by the end of the trip, if only because I stopped by the Holocaust Gates and was encountered by an ugly act of vandalism.
The gates look like this:
On the back of the low wall bracketing the gates, someone had scrawled something ugly in some sort of grease-paint–it looked like lipstick, frankly. There was a bizarre, educated slant to the writing, as if the person had thought very carefully about what he or she wanted to write, as if the thing was pre-meditated, not scrawled in a random act of violence. (The walls, by the way, are inscribed with the names of some of the concentration camps.) Two women sat just near the wall, having lunch. It was a very odd tableau, if not only because, when someone commits an act of vandalism like this, it’s typically because they want people to see it. This exhortation, written in a place where someone looking for a moment of peace, wandering around the back of the memorial, would find it, was particularly offensive because of its placement.
I don’t know if they’ll ever get it off. The stuff seems to have seeped into the stonework. I won’t post it here. If you really want to see it, e-mail me.
Anyway, this isn’t what I wanted to write about, really. I’m not entirely sure now what I set out to say–it was something about my Holocaust professor in college, who encouraged my writing and helped me to find bravery in it, but I think that will have to wait for another day.