This is a re-post from a previously published piece… the descriptions for these pictures can be found at the original article.
I have always had an intense connection with the study of the Holocaust. The study of the Holocaust for me began in middle school, and is a major reason why I chose to pursue a history degree. Further study in the area stalled when I realized just how proficient I would have to become in at least one more language, if not several more. Growing up, my family would encourage me to write, and more specifically, to write about the Holocaust. Yet, I could never find the words.
Even now, this blog post is the most difficult one I have tried to write. As a historian, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment attributed to Edmund Burke, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” As a writer, I feel as though I won’t ever be able to do justice to the survivors’ stories, no matter how many stories I read and hear, and no matter how intensely I study the Holocaust.
Since the Holocaust in which over 6 million Jews, and another 5 million non-Jews were murdered, there have unfortunately been further genocidal atrocities committed. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum cites 10 “cases,” of genocide since WWII. The complete list can be found by clicking this link. There is even an entire group devoted to assessing the risks of potential mass atrocities occurring. You can find out more about the Early Warning Project here.
Many survivors have penned their poignant words to paper, some to castigate those responsible for allowing the crimes to begin and/or continue, others to offer support for their families, and still others to write about their healing and forgiveness toward those responsible. Some of my favorite authors have included Elie Wiesel (Holocaust survivor) and Immaculée Ilibagiza (Rwandan survivor).
For some reason, we as a global entity, aren’t heeding Edmund Burke’s assertion. Collectively, we have continuously allowed genocide to occur in our world, even after the Holocaust, a first-ever mass atrocity of its kind. While survivors observe the world around them, they live with their wounds from these horrific acts.
Some survivors live with physical reminders of their encounters with evil.
Today, on Yom Ha’Shoah, I will be reflecting on the slaughter of the 11 million people, killed at the hands of one group. I will be reflecting on those that attempted to stop the slaughter, or tried to save the victims.
I will also be reflecting on the masses of people that remained silent, and still remain silent, in the face of evil.
I will be reflecting on the way I can ensure the memory of these martyrs carries on during my lifetime.
And, finally, I will be praying a Divine Mercy chaplet to ask for God’s continued mercy on the whole world.
I ask that you, dear reader, will do something today to reflect on those that did not survive, and those that were left alive to tell their stories.
8 thoughts on “Holocaust Remembrance Day”
Please don’t forget the genocides committed against the Armenians and Greeks, and the ongoing genocide of Christians and minorities in the Middle East.
Thank you, Shelly!
Definitely not forgetting any in particular, and which is why I have added the link to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, so others can explore the 11 other “legally identified genocides” which have occurred since WWII. But, I agree – we must not forget any genocide occurring, regardless of whether or not it is a “legal definition” genocide or not.
This was a re-post from last year, before the news began emerging about the Middle East. But, what is going on currently is a stark reminder that, if we don’t learn history, we are doomed to repeat it.
Thanks for taking the time to remind myself, and the readers, of other atrocities – both historical and current.
What a beautiful and sensitive blog for today. You are right….those who don’t study or know history will repeat it. Pride in thinking you can do better keeps people from humbling themselves to history. Ego pushes them forward on their own path, thinking they know a better way. And in the end, Burke was right. As we age we see it unfolding, but the young are making the decisions. And they are denying history- as we can see unfolding in our time of history.
You have always been sensitive to the Holocaust story. Your dedication to sharing their stories and allowing us to hear their voices is impressive. Thank you.
Thank you! It is definitely sad to see the markers and indicators of history repeating itself. Definitely a sobering thought… and, has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with people remaining ignorant.
Many many years ago I was able to go to Europe. One of the places that embedded itself in my brain the deepest was our visit to Dachau. It was an eerie place and when you stood quietly in the middle of it, it felt like you could hear the cries of the prisoners on the wind. I can close my eyes and still feel it. We must never forget!
What an awe-some moment you were able to experience … a somber, powerful, intense moment. You are correct – we must never forget!
It’s a bit late to do something “today,” but you reminded me that I haven’t talked about Lebensunwertes Leben, life unworthy of life, recently.
I take that sort of policy a bit personally, since I’d probably be removed in the second or third culling of the herd.
Thanks for posting this.
It’s amazing when we realize how fragile our lives would have been, and how we would have been targeted. My last trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, I had just found out we were expecting Baby #2, and it was very difficult to know I would have been killed – especially with my son already. Definitely put things in perspective.