Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. A day that has been reserved for meditation upon and reflection of the horrific events leading up to and culminating in the genocide that murdered millions of Jews and others in systematic cruelty.
Under the orders of German fascists and Adolf Hitler, Nazi forces occupied and controlled much of Europe. They constructed and operated several industrial scale prison camps for mass murder. More than 6,000,000 Jewish people, along with hundreds of thousands of disabled people, LGBT people, political prisoners, Roma people, and other so-called “undesirables” were starved, tortured, shot, gassed, worked to death, or hanged.
There are many moral and spiritual reasons to commemorate these crimes against humanity–including respect for those who suffered and died. It is also important to note that some people choose to propagate the rumor that the Holocaust didn’t happen or wasn’t as “severe” as historians have said it was.
Today is an excellent time to read personal accounts that were written by Holocaust survivors. The people who escaped Hitler’s “Final Solution”. The survivors testified and bore witness to the depravity that was inflicted upon the millions of victims. It is vitally important that we never deprive future generations of the history lessons that belong to the civilization’s collective memories of the past.
Holocaust Memorial Day was instituted by the United Nations to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945. The commemoration pays tribute to Holocaust victims and reaffirms society’s responsibility to counter antisemitism, racism, and other manifestations of intolerance that lead to hate crimes and group-targeted violence.
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”–Lutheran pastor and concentration camp prisoner, Martin Niemöller.
I plan to re-listen to the audiobook of Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night. The book captures his personal experiences at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration-death camps. At that time, Wiesel was a teen who was imprisoned with his father. Elie survived but his father died before liberation.
Today we must remember the Holocaust and pledge that such horrors should never again be inflicted upon any people.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Holocaust survivor, Nazi hunter, and writer, Simon Wiesenthal. “For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews. It can also be other people. We saw it begin in Germany with Jews, but people from more than twenty other nations were also murdered.”
I haven’t read ‘Night’, I’ll look for it. Maggie
I give it my highest recommendation.
Holocaust will always remain as a dark part of history. It can never be forgotten.
It is wise to always preserve the honor of those who suffered.