Royal Remembrance

Krakow Synagogue

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By Carrie Burns
Guest Contributor

The beautiful building in Krakow was guarded by an Israeli who was wired like a secret agent. As we approached the Tempel Synagogue, our Polish guide explained that the stately structure with the likeness of the ten commandment tablets high up on the façade was refurbished after the Holocaust. One of the major donors of the project was from the United Kingdom. His name? His Royal Highness Price Charles of Wales.

Tempel Synagogue, Krakow, Poland, constructed 1860-62. I visited this magnificent place in 2010 with my pastor and group from Jerusalem. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Temple Synagogue in Krakow

Welsh Synagogue

Recently, in May 2021 during the Covid pandemic, a masked Prince Charles visited the oldest synagogue that still stands in Wales. The Jewish population in the region dwindled so the Gothic-Revival building closed its doors in the 1980s, but soon, it will tell the 250-year story of Jewish presence in Wales. This project interested the Prince of Wales so much that he is giving a sizable donation to transform the building into a cultural center and museum. If you would like to donate to the project like Prince Charles, click here.

The former Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue in Wales. It is being restored and made into a Jewish Heritage Center dedicated to the history of the Jewish people in Wales. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue

During this coming week, the world will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, 27 January. This is the day that Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, and has been designated by the United Nations as a day to remember the victims of the Genocide against European Jews. In addition to January 27th, many countries also select another day that is specific to their own land to solemnly remember. This is the case with Israel. Yom HaShoah is commemorated on the 27th of the Jewish month of Nissan, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. This year, Yom HaShoah will begin the evening of April 27th until the evening of April 28th .

& Her …

She is artistically talented. Two years ago, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, invited two Holocaust survivors and their grandchildren to Kensington Palace so that she could meet them and take their photograph.

In 2020, fifty contemporary photographs of Holocaust Survivors and their families were featured in a beautiful exhibit called Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors, at the Imperial War Museum in London. Kate Middleton contributed two of the fifty.

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Kate Middleton

When I studied the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, we were told that many survivors did not begin telling their stories until after they had grandchildren. It was explained like this: they somehow lived, then somehow, they had children, and their children lived and they had children - they really are alive. It is safe to talk. Just like the painting Prince Charles commissioned, these photographs of survivors and their offspring is inspiring, touching, beautiful and hopeful.

Kate Middleton took this portrait of Holocaust survivor, Steven Frank, with his granddaughters, Maggie and Trixie. “He’s just our Opa” said the girls. Image Credit: The Duchess of Cambridge

Steve Frank and grandchildren

Remember & Act

This week, let’s advance our learning about the Holocaust so that we can make a difference in the world. Attend a commemoration service. Read a survivor’s autobiography or watch a film. Host a gathering to talk about a film, article or book and pray that G-d will hold back antisemitism. Tell others what you have learned. Give to ministries and causes that support Israel and the Jewish people. In so doing, our actions and love would be beautifully befitting of royalty and of those belonging to the Kingdom of G-d.

But the plans of the L-rd stand firm forever,
The purposes of his heart through all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose G-d is the L-rd,
The people He chose for His inheritance.
Psalm 33:11-12

But glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:
First for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 2:10

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
A holy nation, G-d’s special possession,
That you may declare the praises of Him who called you
Out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Carrie is the International Liaison for the ministry partnership of Ezra International and Ministry to Israel. For 30 years, Carrie has served as an advocate for Jewish-Christian relations in the US, Israel and in the 29 countries she has visited. She is a speaker and writer. In 2016, she lived in Poland where she volunteered at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and began blogging about what she learned.

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Article published on 01/25/2022