Why We Must Remember the Holocaust

I see her in the dining hall every day. She is bent nearly double with age and even though I have never spoken to her, I know she is a widow. Her husband passed on a few years ago and now she comes two or three times a week to eat lunch with the other seniors who are a part of our organization. She may be old but she is still graceful. However, sometimes, her fingers shake uncontrollably as she plucks out a carton of milk from the crate. But amazingly, she never drops it. She is strong– just like she was nearly 73 years ago when her cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents were murdered by the Nazis in cold blood. 

Holocaust
The Holocaust/ Various News Sources

I am political. It is how I have always been. But while any student of politics accepts that there is no such thing as an objective truth, there some elements of history that leave no room for debate. The Holocaust is one of those events. A genocide of such scale as the world had never seen before. A genocide that claimed the lives of millions of people– Gypsies, Communists, Trade Unionists, Intellectuals, Scientists, Philosophers, Gays, Lesbians, Disabled People, Small Children, Pregnant Women, Old people, People of Color– And Jews.

6 Million Jews.

Read More: Remembering Anne of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen

Nearly 70% of the entire Jewish population of the world; murdered in the most mechanically, coldly, bureaucratically orchestrated genocide in human history.

When the war ended, the survivors and the international community said ‘Never Again.’ It became a rallying cry, a call to action, a plea to humankind– to be kinder, gentler, and better people.

Read More: Lost in the Shoah: An Ode to the Living

But in the 73 years since the Holocaust, genocide has happened again and again and again.

Rwanda: 1994: 800,000- 1,000,000 

Cambodia: 1979: 1,386,000- 3,000,000 

Bangladesh: 1971: 1,000,000- 3,000,000

East Timor: 1975: 85,000- 197,000

Kurdistan (Iraq): 1989: 50,000- 200,000

Indonesia: 1965: 1,000,000- 3,000,000

Bosnia: 1991: 100,000

Darfur: 2003: 300,000

Have I numbed you yet? I hope not. These numbers don’t really numb me. They just almost numb me.

Rwanda.jpg
Rwanda/ Various News Sources
Cambodia.jpg
Cambodia/Various News Sources
Indonesia.jpg
Indonesia/ Various News Sources
Bangladesh.jpg
Bangladesh/ Various News Sources

When I mistype a comma between the zeroes or if I put an extra zero in the end, I simply press backspace, correct the error, and move on to the next one. I don’t linger to read the implications of an extra zero. And when a number requires only one comma as opposed to two, a tiny part of me says, “oh, that was not that bad then…” And I feel ashamed of myself.

It is amazing and devastating that hundreds of thousands seem like rounding errors in the tragedies of millions.

Never Forget, this is still the same world that said “Never Again.”

And this is the same world where Rohingyas are being ethnically cleansed out of Myanmar, where Yazidis are being butchered by the ISIL, and where millions of Syrians have been rendered homeless.

Rohingya.jpg
The Genocide of the Rohingyas– Millions are making perilous journeys to escape the violence/ Various News Sources
Syria.jpg
Over 13.6 Million Syrians need assistance today. 6 Million are internally displaced. 5 Million are refugees/ Various News Sources

Now is the time to raise your voice. Silence is a crime. Don’t be a criminal.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

*To preserve the memory and to spread awareness about the Holocaust and other genocides, donate here to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

* To help refugees from Syria, Myanmar, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and numerous other countries, donate here to the International Rescue Committee

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