Courage Reborn: Writing Under Difficult Circumstances

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” -Anne Frank

This week, a University of Virginia history professor asked his students if they would participate in a project to keep personal records of these current times. Diaries and journals have helped us understand historic events from a personal perspective throughout the ages. These reflections of everyday life have provided some of the most thought-provoking and relatable moments during the most complex historical events.

Although most of us do not write with the intention of preserving history, it is a good way to help us process how we are feeling and who we are in these unprecedented times. We have been engaging with each other digitally for over a decade and have crafted stories of how we want others to perceive us. Journals and diaries allow us to explore who we really are at our core, without the fear of judgement, or the striving for others’ approval.

In addition to reflecting individually, now is the time for us to consider connecting with those who are isolated and feeling alone. Writing to others is beneficial for both the sender and the receiver. There is always a special feeling that comes from receiving a note, letter or email. We hope that you will help us connect with our local survivors who might benefit from a thoughtful note at this time. You can send emails to Jewish Family Service at [email protected] and they will be sure to pass them on to survivors in our community.

The week of April 19, HHC will have several days of interactive programs to commemorate Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). This year, we are asking for students to send us short essays based on the question: “How will you continue to tell the stories of Holocaust survivors?” Winning essays will be chosen to be read via a livestream during the week. Full details about the Holocaust Remembrance Week Essay Contest are available here.

Tell us what you have been inspired to do during this time. Are you keeping a journal, reaching out to family, neighbors or others in the community? You can tag us on Facebook (@CincyHHC), Instagram (@holocaustandhumanity), or Twitter (@cincyhhc) with the hashtag #HHCbthelight to share what you are doing.

Holocaust survivors in Cincinnati who felt isolated and alienated came together to help one another form new families and communities after everything they had lost, eventually leading to the formation of what is today HHC. We should use their example as inspiration for us to all come together to build our own community in the weeks and months to come.

Join us in taking action:

  • Send your notes or letters for Holocaust survivors to [email protected]
  • For information on the Holocaust Remembrance Week Essay Contest, please click here
  • Post your actions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #HHCbthelight