Erik-Peter Mortensen’s “Supplication for the Holocaust” prayer adapted from and inspired by “Prayer for the Six Million:” – last in a series of prayers from “Z’CHOR – REMEMBER – A Holocaust Prayer – In Memory – Written by a Holocaust Survivor”
Prayer for the Six Million:
Almighty God, remember the six million people that were gassed, killed, drowned, burned alive, tortured, beaten or frozen to death. In our hearts, their sacred memory will last forever and ever. Amen.
God of our Fathers, let the ashes of the children incinerated in Auschwitz, the rivers of blood spilled at Babbi Yar or Majdanek, be a warning to mankind that hatred is destructive, violence is contagious, while man has an unlimited capacity for cruelty. For our own sake and for the sake of our children, we have to be our brother's keeper.
Almighty God, fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares . . . nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Man shall not lift weapon against man, and shall kill no more. Amen.
“Supplication for the Holocaust” text:
Call to remembrance the number twenty-six million,
The number of them that died in the Great Holocaust.
For their sake, and ours,
“fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah:
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares…
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Man shall not lift weapon against man,
And shall kill no more!”
Informational excerpts below are from the www.u-s-history web page as published on 4/30/2012.
The Holocaust is generally regarded as the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and slaughter of approximately 6 million Jews — two thirds of the total European Jewish population, and two-fifths of the Jews in the entire world — but also millions of other victims, by the Nazi regime and its collaborators under Adolf Hitler.
While the Jews were the primary target, there were many other ethnic, secular, religious, and national groups that suffered during the Holocaust, including Poles, Czechs, Greeks, Gypsies, Serbs, Ukranians, and Russians, as well as homosexuals, mentally and physically handicapped persons, trade unionists, prisoners of war, Jehovah's Witnesses, and uncounted others. All were targeted because of their perceived "racial inferiority."
Current estimates, based on Nazi war records and official government documents from various countries, place the death toll of the Holocaust at anywhere from 10 million (a conservative figure) to 26 million people.
Erik-Peter chose to musically set the figure “26 million” not because it is necessarily factually accurate, but because it represents an unfathomably large number of exterminated victims, linked together as a chain of humanity, brothers and sisters in death, across nations, religions, and ideologies. When one group of our human brothers is afflicted, we are all afflicted as we are all connected to each other!
Recorded, edited and mixed at Papagena Productions, New York
Emily Speer, soprano
Emily Speer, alto
Edwin Santayana, tenor
Erik-Peter Mortensen, bass