Moshe BaranDear Reader,

I am Moshe Baran.
  I am 92 years old and a Holocaust survivor.  I experienced a ghetto and a forced labor camp; I escaped from the Germans with stolen weapons and joined the resistance.  I was with the Soviet Army when it liberated Germany.

At the end of the war I dared to dream that six years of bloodshed, destruction and unspeakable human tragedy might finally put an end to war in our world.  I felt that the brutal murder of millions of Jews and other targeted groups would bring a period of tranquility and peace and a new dawn of harmony among the nations.  Regrettably this was not the case. Since 1945 we have witnessed war in Korea and Vietnam, genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Kosovo in the heart of Europe, and too many other instances of hate and violence to mention.

We learned in the 1930’s that hate words can lead to hateful actions and that hateful actions can lead to genocide. Today I am alarmed and frightened when I notice speech in the media that distorts the truth in hateful ways.  Such statements remind me of the time before World War II, when the media was filled with such speech.  Populations who receive their news from narrowly targeted sources are particularly likely to have their perceptions shaped by the ethnically biased distortions presented to them.  Such speech has already given us massacres in Rwanda and Kosovo, the use of chemical weapons on the Kurdish population of Iraq, and incidents of ethnic cleansing from Chechnya to Indonesia and beyond. Even in the Western world we see hate speech leading to the desecration of churches, mosques and synagogues and even to the murder of two children and their father in front of a school in Toulouse, France.

Silence and indifference can also be forms of hate speech.  When we do not speak out in the face of suicide bombings in public places and violence by one group against another in the name of an ethnic or religious purpose, we are allowing the statements of those who perpetrate that violence to become acceptable. When a society is passive in the face of such actions and speech, that society becomes complicit in the results.

It is unacceptable for any of us to be passive in the face of public statements that incite violence.  My purpose in creating this blog is to share my awareness of instances of hate speech that permeate the public arena both in the mass media and in less well-disseminated venues. What I ask of you, the reader, is that you will share this information with your own circle of friends and even with your legislators and other public leaders.  I believe that when the barrage of hateful speech becomes a topic of public debate rather than indifference, the chance of such speech resulting in violent action is reduced. And such public discussion also has the potential to encourage people to take a stand against those in their communities who act on the messages they hear, condemning their actions in no uncertain terms.

Now that you are aware, I ask you to beware. And I ask you to do your small part by reading this blog regularly and sharing it with everyone you know.

We cannot change the heart of humanity on our own, but each of us can tend to our own hearts and encourage those around us to do the same. I look forward to engaging with you in an ongoing discussion of speech that leads to genocide so that we can leave to our children a world in which such a thing is unthinkable.


5 thoughts on “About

  1. Greetings Moshe and blessings to you and yours… I am a Holocaust educator-activist (by avocation; an English teacher by trade), who found your blog on WordPress as I am one of those few goyim who happens to be a great fan of Chassidic storytelling. I write to say that your site is very encouraging and to thank you for the work that you do. I have made it my life work to not let the memory of the Shoah cease… and have written a book calling the church to teach and remember the Holocaust as a means of taking responsibility for its past, and present, silence on the subject. God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and bring you shalom… ~ Daniel Hennessy

  2. Moshe,
    Praise G-d you are here to tell the truth, and that you haven’t tired of doing so!
    Only through the willingness to speak out is there any hope of change.
    I’m studying with Yad Vashem with the intent to also educate about these issues.
    May G-d continue to bless you and your work and may repentance come quickly.

  3. Mr. Baran, thank you for the opportunity to hear your story at Indiana University of Pennsylvania last week. Your message about hate speech is inspiring and true. We are definitely a passive society who tries to sit back and view from the sidelines. That needs to stop. There is so much going on in the world around us, if society would stand up and say “STOP!” we could end it collectively.
    Thank you, again, for speaking at IUP and for spreading your message so tirelessly. You are truly an inspiration. God bless you.

  4. Hello. Congratulations on your blog. Today I got an email from the US Holocaust Museum and saw your name with a photo from a school in Gordek Wilenski. I brought it to show my 92-year old mother who is from Sarny in Volyn. She recognized the teacher in the photo, she says he was her Hebrew teacher also in the Sarny Tarbut school – Mr. Dichter. Does that sound familiar? She says the teachers traveled from town to town. Her grandmother is from Dovid Gorodek which I think is close to where you were from. The family name was Chasin/Chazin. It is a small world indeed.

    Sheryl Bronkesh

  5. Pingback: Son Of God (The Movie) | Sojourning With Jews

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