Holocaust Memorial Day and Yellow Snowflakes

yellowsnowflakes

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and just as surely as we need to remember the Nazi holocaust, we have to understand how it has been manipulated. Saddam is Hitler, Nasser is Hitler, etc. At times it’s been manipulated to silence those who want peace and to demonize those opposed to Israel’s crimes.

But that insight of course shouldn’t blind us to the reality of the massive suffering brought on in the Nazi Holocaust toward the many victims of the Nazi regime, including socialists, gypsies, Slavs, gays, dissidents, “asocials” and of course Jews.

During the blizzard this weekend, I painted snow. I’ve been painting all kinds of natural and other intricate objects lately, and since it snowed, I painted snowflakes.

Perhaps my most moving moment during the storm was when it hit me that if I let snow land on cold metal instead of paper, as I’d been doing till then, and immediately sprayed it with cold paint, the individual snowflakes could be preserved. So I got a window screen I’d just recently purchased at Community Forklift, a local reuse nonprofit, and started spray painting the snowflakes as they fell in. Consciously or not, the can of paint I grabbed was yellow. The second I started spraying and saw the individual flakes, it hit me that I was making a Nazi Holocaust Memorial — since of course the Nazis made Jews wear yellow Stars of David in the buildup to their plans of extermination and the most extensive of the snowflakes were six sided.

On the street outside my home with one hand I held up the screen as the snow fell. I tried to focus and gently gather and “save” each snowflake as I sprayed with the other hand and the snow began to taper off.

Some of the results are below, photographed with a phone camera barely up to the task. Unfortunately, I got to this idea late in the snowstorm, after quite a bit of experimentation throughout the weekend, so wasn’t able to make it as extensive as I’d have liked. So I, perhaps nearly alone among adults in D.C., eagerly await the next snowstorm.

Sam Husseini is founder of the website VotePact.org