“Could it happen here, Mommy? Could it happen again?”
“If we forget the past, it could happen again. We must learn from these horrors. We must learn what happens when people remain silent while others are persecuted.”
Ruth Minsky Sender’s Holocaust memoir The Cage was required reading in school, and it has stuck with me for over a decade. I have been meaning to go back to it for awhile now, so when I finished Harry Potter, I figured I’d bring it into my reread cycle.
Even knowing that it had made an impression on me in school, I forgot just how incredibly poignant this book is. Riva pulls her family and friends through one of the worst crises our world has ever known–serving as a mother figure to her brothers in the ghetto, inspiring those around her in the concentration camps, even touching the heart of a fierce commandant. This is a very simple story, meant for children in middle school, but it shows all of us just how important hope is in the face of absolute horror.
Minsky Sender also has one very important message for all of us. We cannot forget. We must remind ourselves what happened to the Jews (and others who were persecuted), and we must NEVER let that happen again.