Seventy years is a flash — also, an eternity. Look back at 1846. Surely, those alive then thought it was a long time since America’s Declaration of Independence, 70 years earlier. Not to mention, the rumblings of a possible Civil War were on the horizon. Since the Declaration, history had moved on.
The Warsaw Ghetto uprising was long ago, and history has moved on. The number of survivors of that uprising, never large to begin with, who were present last week in Warsaw to mark the 70th anniversary, was precisely two. There is one other living survivor.
True enough, the ceremony was attended by the Polish president and prime minister, and by Israel’s minister of education. Church bells rang. Sirens sounded.
One of the survivors, Simcha Rotem, said, “People go, but the memory remains.” Does it? For the survivors, yes; for those who knew the survivors, to an extent; but for anyone else?