Between 1939 and 1945, six million Jews were brutally murdered in Europe. Their crime? Being Jewish.
They had committed no crime, they had incited no riots, they had leveled no threats. These Jews had lived for many generations in their home countries and were law-abiding citizens who contributed great minds to culture and science. Leaders from all around Europe were only too happy to round up their Jewish citizens and send them off as despised chattel to be unceremoniously slaughtered. Ancient Jewish populations from such countries as Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Greece, Romania, Czecheslovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Italy and Austria were rounded up with horrifying precision, and sent to the hell of concentration camps, such as the notorious Auschwitz. The Jewish populations assembled were referred to with many vile terms, including slave labor populations. While in their enforced slavery, they were tortured (both physically and psychologically), starved, beaten, forced to live like animals and literally worked to death.
On Monday, we marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, we remembered the six million Jews and the millions of other “undesirables” who were silenced by hate, and had no hero to save them. We remember those who survived the atrocities of the Holocaust, and who have since passed on. The Holocaust illustrated the worst in humanity, and its sheer magnitude of destruction is still hard to entirely comprehend.
We keep a place in our hearts and minds for those silent victims, children to the elderly. We also understand that something as horrifying and destructive as the Holocaust must never be allowed to happen again. The modern state of Israel was founded for the purpose of providing one entirely safe haven for the wandering minority nation.
The survivors of the Nazi-directed hell were forever marked as victims, with blackened numerical tattoos on their arms. My grandmother was one of those brave survivors who vowed never to forget the horror of Europe, so long as she had a voice. From a young age, I was exposed to stories of the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. I find it incredible that there are still people out there who deny the Holocaust, or try to pooh-pooh it as a distant event.
Ramifications of Europe’s period of absolute evil still remain: I grew up with one grandmother, a result of my family on both sides being decimated because the Nazis decided Jews were sub-human, and most of Europe was too cowardly to stand up to evil.
Please take this week to consider how you can stand up against injustice, and remember all victims across time, who had no voice.