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Marder’s message has relevance for today and forever

September 12, 2014
Estherville News

"What I have to say is really important. I hope you will never experience the things that I have experienced in my life."

Samuel Marder, Holocaust survivor, told Iowa Lakes Community College and area high-school students how he had survived the Holocaust Wednesday.

And he focused his remarks on prejudice.

"We are all in one way or another prejudiced," said Marder, tracing a connection from prejudice to estrangement to suspicion to hate.

"It's happening every day in the world," said Marder. "The order of the day is killing - not peace."

Prejudice can start with a smile or a joke of one person at the expense of another, said Marder, adding, "But we don't know how much you hurt that person." He then recalled a Jewish concept that if you insult a person in public it is as if you had killed him.

Marder's message is by no means an exaggeration. Every day, people are belittled, poked fun at and rejected because of their color, religion, race or sexual orientation - and in this country, the supposed Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

But for whom is it free.

For those who fit into some tidy white Anglo Saxon Protestant pigeonhole? Those who look like everyone else? Those who fit into a comfortable sameness that doesn't disrupt the status quo?

Or does freedom mean that anyone, regardless of differences, has the right to live his or her life as he or she wants.

Marder would most definitely say the latter.

And that's an important message. By keeping an opening mind and allowing ourselves to understand the differences of others among us, we are able to enrich our own lives - go beyond the narrow boundaries of the past and find a far vaster and more meaningful life.

Marder's message has resonance - not just for the Holocaust, but for now and the future.



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