Remembering

Sorry this is a day late, but I had the chance to go see baseball with a friend from college and some new friends.  The blog is very important, but hey, it is not baseball. This last weekend we went to Boston for a joyous occasion, Roger’s daughter got married.  Our friend Tony Gibson was the wedding photographer and although there were a lot of cameras there, it is not my place to steal any of their thunder especially since Sarah threatened my life if I did!  There won’t be any wedding photos here.   No, this is just going to be a quick reminder on a couple of really fun upcoming events and then one solemn reminder of how far we have yet to go.

Next week is Photoshop World in Las Vegas!   This will be the first time I have gone to the West Coast version and I am curious to see what the differences will be.  There is still time to join a few thousand of your newest best photo buddies and have your brain crammed so full that it hurts.   Sign up at www.Photoshopworld.com  and plan to spend 12-18 hours a day learning stuff.  They have tracks on the business of photography, lighting, video, Lightroom and of course a lot of Photoshop.   It is not cheap, but you certainly get more than your money’s worth.  This year that is even truer than ever as Adobe is giving away a year’s free subscription to the complete Creative Cloud for all attendees.  That would cost you $600 dollars, so PSW really pays for itself right there.

Once you get back from PSW, you will want to put all that knowledge to work.  What better way than to join us once again in Williamsburg on the morning of 5 October in Williamsburg VA for the annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk?   Our page is at http://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/williamsburg-va-united-states/  and there is still plenty of room. 

Now back to Boston.  Sarah and I wandered through the kitsch that is now Quincy Market on Friday evening.  She had read a blurb that the Boston Holocaust memorial was worth a visit and it was just around the corner.  It is directly across the street from the Union Oyster House in a park located on the traffic divider on Congress Street.  The architecture is strangely simple; Six metal and glass towers, surrounded by grey stones, at least that is how it first appears.  Each of the towers represents a major concentration camp and each glass pane is engraved with rows and columns of seven digit numbers.  It is not until you realize that these represent the numbers tattooed onto the arms of the millions of victims, does the full power impact you.

Bright skies but dark history

Bright skies but dark history

Each tower has quotes from survivors or diaries describing an aspect.  The surrounding stones are carefully arranged and grey, like the uniforms of the prisoners.

Gray stones all alike but each unique

Gray stones all alike but each unique

Today, here in the United States we marked the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”.   We have made remarkable progress as a nation, but places like the memorial remind us that we must remain aware and conscious because history has shown that it doesn't take much to slide into not seeing or tolerating behaviors that now are horrifying to contemplate.   Oh wait, I have to go watch the news to see what is going on in Syria.

We Can Never Forget

This blog represents something different from our usual light-hearted look at photography.  We’ll get back to those, next time, but this is a serious look at one of the most memorable parts of the trip to Greece.  We pulled into the walled fortress city of Rhodes early in the morning. 

During my pre-trip research I had found that there was a Jewish Martyr’s square and an ancient synagogue.  Dr. Francie, one of the wonderful friends I traveled with is Jewish and my father’s family fled Poland just ahead of the Germans, so we both wanted to visit.

Since the 13th century, through both Christian and Arab occupations, the population in Rhodes had thrived.  Before WWII there were more than 5000 Jews in the city supporting multiple synagogues.  Today there are less than 500 and one remaining historic building.  Down a series of narrow winding arched streets, you come to a simple door to a vanished world. 

 Designated a World Heritage Site and rebuilt through donations, the interior of the building has been gradually restored.  The wall paintings and iron work rebuilt. 

The attached museum lists the names of all the family members who were deported in 1943 and who mostly perished in Auschwitz in 1944. 

 Seeing the artifacts of daily life, the photographs of the families and the documents sentencing them to their deaths,  serve as a potent reminder that this kind of brutality still exists in the world and that we must speak up against it.

The sacred Torah of the synagogue survived the war.  The head rabbi was good friends with the imam of the largest mosque and entrusted him with its safekeeping.  Throughout the war, it was hidden beneath the podium where he pronounced his Friday prayers.

Only 150 people returned to Rhodes after the war.  To return they had to endure further trials and travails.  The caretaker of the synagogue Samuel was 17 when he came home.  His parents, brothers and sisters all gone, his cousins, aunts and uncles and most of his friends perished as well.  Now he serves as a living monument.  He speaks multiple languages and is incredibly warm and engaging as he talks about his journey.

  Look closely at his left arm. 

 The string of numbers crudely tattooed into his flesh should burn in all of us. 

The carved stone in the Martyr’s square is strong but his spirit is far stronger.  

None of us, should ever forget that this could happen to any of us.