Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and is to be know as Holocaust Memorial Day. There have been several television programmes to mark the anniversary, and if you missed the programme about the indomitable 93-year-old Freddie Knoller on BBC 2 last week, do watch it if you can, either on iPlayer or its repeat tomorrow evening. It's one of the most moving (and heartwarming) programmes I have ever seen.
Tomorrow, I shall think especially of my very dear friend M. M was born in England after her Jewish parents fled from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia, and while she was never there, she seems to have lived in the shadow of the Holocaust all her life. Her parents - lovely, gentle people - always made me welcome when I lived near them as a student nurse, but there was a sadness about them that I've never forgotten. M told me that her father in particular suffered badly from survivors' guilt because of the family members who had died, and M seems to have taken it on herself, too. She is a lovely person, a gifted musician, and has led a full and successful life. But it is there; that sadness that none of us non-Jews will ever really be able to understand.
So for some, the pain continues, and while I know we must all move on, just for tomorrow I shall think of M, and remember with love and affection her father* and mother, and all those like them, who live under that shadow.
*He was a jeweller, who made my first wedding ring. I still wear it on my right hand.