Wednesday, December 02, 2009


It is far too easy for us to get wrapped up in our own lives. In fact, even as I sit down to write this, I am more tempted to just start whining about the mountain of cover letters I should be writing.

But being in Munich this past weekend reminded me that while I have been insanely blessed, there are people around the world who are suffering and have suffered. Before I get further into this post, though, I do want to highlight that Munich has nearly nine centuries of beautiful, fascinating history. It is, however, impossible to ignore the years that came around 1920 to 1945 when exploring the city.

The picture above is a sign posted discreetly on a wall on a building in downtown Munich. It translates to something along the lines of "Here stood, until the year 1938, the department store owned by the Uhlfelder family." As you can imagine, the Uhlfelder family was Jewish, and their business was destroyed as part of the Holocaust.

The more I ponder this reality, the more teared-up I get. Here I am, working hard at establishing myself as a businessperson. I have invested large sums of capital and time into developing my skills. On the same vein, the Uhlfelder family did the same with their department store. Then, one day, a man, a charismatic man feeding on the desperate plight of a nation overwhelmed by hyperinflation, decided that the Uhlfelder family didn't deserve to own their business anymore simply because of their heritage.

The whole thing gives me chills. I wish that we could point to the Holocaust as a one-time event, but history has repeated itself. Genocide has occurred in Rwanda and Sudan.

I wish I knew what we could do about it.

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