Returning explores the questions faced by the Jewish Sonderkommando in Birkenau. When does death becomes a moral obligation? What is the nature of responsibility when all choices are taken from us? Can we do T’shuvah for acts committed under coercion? These are the questions that Ovadya still wrestles with decades later.
Tisha b’Av is an intentionally triggered “national flashback”. Any survivor will tell you that the anniversary of a traumatic event is the time when one is most likely to relive it. Rather than trying to “get over it”, we allow ourselves to acknowledge the loss. We acknowledge that there are some things that we should not just “get over”.
How does one host a joint book club discussion with two separate groups of children of holocaust survivors, each of which is keen to protect its members’ privacy, and each of whose members are located all over the world? With the help of Facebook, some extraordinary cooperation, and a lot of good will, we achieved something unique, and learned a lot along the way.