As part of my Bar Mitzvah I wanted to strengthen my identification to my Jewish heritage by forging bonds with an individual who was murdered during the Holocaust.
As part of my Bar Mitzvah I wanted to strengthen my identification to my Jewish heritage by forging bonds with an individual who was murdered during the Holocaust. I have learnt that every person is of value. Each child’s potential to grow and flourish is an unknown; however, the possibility of achieving and living a fruitful life is not always given to all children.
During the Holocaust, a million and a half Jewish children under the age of 16 were murdered in Nazi occupied Europe. The children of the Holocaust, those that were killed, have often been forgotten. One reason is because they lived very short lives and we know little about them. Some wrote poetry before they perished, some drew, some wrote music. Books and stories have been written about them. Yet, these remnants of their memories do not always help people like me today understand this enormous loss.
I contacted Yad Vashem so that I could learn more about the Jewish children that perished during the holocaust and I joined their twinning programme. Yad Vashem quickly discovered a young boy named Josua Boesenach who had been murdered that would become my ‘twin’ and I would be able to honour his memory. Josua, who shares the same name as me was born in The Hague on 2 June 1931. My birthday is 3 June 2007.
He was deported age 12 to Auschwitz and murdered in a gas chamber. He never got to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah.
As I celebrate my Bar Mitzvah he will be on my mind.
The Nazis may have tried to destroy us, but today, the spirit of one of those whose life they took, was able to participate in his Jewish religion, the religion they wanted to eradicate. My Bar Mitzvah day is his Bar Mitzvah day. Each year, on the anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah I will light a Yahrzeit candle for Josua.
I will remember him.