Dear Tatiana de Rosnay,
I was absolutely shocked to realize that the human race has begun to forget what may be its most tragic events and darkest years in all its history, and it hasn't even been a century since.
People often remember the holocaust because it affected so many people. Your book, Sarah's Key, made me realize that it shouldn't be remembered just because of the overwhelming numbers, but because of the people it affected, individually. In your book I temporarily wrenched my eyes away from the masses of people, and zoomed in on one ten-year-old girl named Sarah Starzynski. I was shown the horror and pain and fear of the Holocaust through her eyes, and that is something I can never forget.
As I followed the story of Sarah through her eyes, I also it to discovered it through the eyes, ears, and emotions of Julia Jarmond, a journalist researching the roundup in Paris in 1942. Like Julia, I was shocked by the horror of what happened in Paris on July 16, 1942, and also how the people of Paris just acted like they had no idea why all those Jews were suddenly disappearing in the night. Along with Julia Jarmond, I recognized how badly the holocaust could affect just one little girl. It forced Sarah to grow up mentally and emotionally to the point where she couldn't handle the sorrow and grief any more, and her solution was suicide.
I am always worried about the world, accidentally or maybe even on purpose, forgetting something extremely important. For example, what if the human race becomes so wrapped up in rapidly advancing technology that in about a few generations, we forget how to write by hand. Or, on the other hand, world peace is established only by means of forgetting the freedoms for which this great country, the United States of America, was established, and forcing people to make sacrifices such as their individuality. If these are possible for the human race, then will we forget what happened to millions and millions of innocent Jewish people, elderly and infants alike? This question haunts me, just like it does Julia Jarmond in Sarah 's Key.
Julia sees that even though many people do remember the Vel D'Hiv roundup of 1942 in Paris, they don't ever speak about it. The thousands that remember want to forget, and therefore the millions that don't know it happened never will. If those who remember never speak up and tell the rest of the world to keep the memories fresh in their minds, over generations, the human race will forget. If they can forget what happened in Paris, it is only a matter of time until the world forgets what happened all over Europe. What scares me the most is if we forget, it might happen again. And this time, it might happen to me.
So my question to you is this - how do we keep the world from forgetting the Holocaust? From your book I learned that the best way to keep the memory alive is to remember it myself. Every single day, I have to remember what regular people did to other people. I have to remember why they did it. And, perhaps most importantly, I have to remember to never, ever let it happen again.