Ulrika Citron was born and raised in Sweden. Citron is the co-chair of USC Shoah Foundation’s Next Generation Council and active in the nonprofit world. She lives in New York City with her husband, Joel, and three children.
Curious but friendly onlookers in the multicultural middle-class neighborhood in Amsterdam joined us. A café owner slowly crossed the street. “What’s happening?” she asked. “We are placing memorial stones in front of my grandparents’ home where they last lived before being deported in 1942,” I replied. “Please join us!”
The Holocaust is inarguably the most heinous crime against a group of people we have seen in modern times. Despite decades of wrestling with how such an atrocity could have occurred and the postwar generation promising never again, history keeps repeating itself. Therefore, the collection and the custody of testimonies from those who bear witness remains a necessary task for as long as inhumanities keep occurring. Genocide and crimes against humanity transcend religions, cultures, languages, geographic regions, socioeconomics, gender, age, etc., making testimony collection across all cultures not only a moral responsibility, but imperative given the mission of USC Shoah Foundation. We know for sure that under a certain set of circumstances, genocide could happen anywhere, and again.
My “mormor” (literally mother's mother) Greta exuded love and her heart burst for my sister and me. Along with my “morfar” (mother's father) Ingvar, they ensured us an innocent and idyllic childhood in a small town in Sweden. Greta's pork chops with cream sauce were my favorites and I later learned my father would devour when given the opportunity.
In April 1994, the genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis officially began, even though the persecution and killing campaign had gone on for decades. In 100 days, close to 1 million women, children and men were slaughtered and tortured to death with machetes, metal sticks and knives.
The conflict gained momentum when Belgium became the colonial power in Rwanda after Germany’s defeat in World War I, and further highlighted and reinforced the distinctions between Hutus and Tutsis.