International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Never Forget

International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Never Forget

International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Never Forget

Today, January 27, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, the three Nazi camps located in Southern Poland, where Jews and non-Jewish Poles were murdered. This day is designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We, as in the international community, promised we would “Never Forget”. The rise of anti-Semitic attacks and the blood libel tweet by a United States Congresswoman attest to the fact that we have forgotten.

Last year, Time Magazine published an article that claimed that in 2018 more Jews, world-wide, died as a result of Anti-Semitism than any year in the previous decade. Just one month ago, our Deanna wrote of how the New York State bail reform has resulted in more violence against the Orthodox Jewish Community. Every part of me screams, “Why?” Have we forgotten so soon?

In a very vapid article, the New York Times article on Holocaust Remembrance Day has a quote from Piotr Cywinski, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum:

“More and more we seem to be having trouble connecting our historical knowledge with our moral choices today,” he said. “I can imagine a society that understands history very well but does not draw any conclusion from this knowledge.”

Connecting our “historical knowledge with our moral choices” would be a problem if we knew history. We don’t know our history. Anyone who has had a child in the United States government education system in the last 20 years knows that history is not taught at all. Well, they know that the United States is a imperialist, genocidal country born of the original sin of slavery. They can quote that chapter and verse, even if they can’t explain why they think that is true.

The Jerusalem Post reported on a new Pew Research Center poll:

The Pew Research Center posed four questions on the Holocaust as an extension to its religious knowledge survey conducted in 2019 which polled 10,429 adults in the US.

In response to the question “How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust,” a plurality, some 45%, chose the answer “approximately 6 million, with 55% giving incorrect answers.

Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed did not know how many Jews were murdered, 12% said more than 12 million, 12% said approximately three million, and 2% said less than one million.

When asked “When did the Holocaust happen?” 69% of respondents said between 1930 and 1950, 18% said they were not sure or did not know, 10% said between 1910 and 1930, 2% between 1890 and 1910, and 1% between 1950 and 1970.

I am not at all surprised by these statistics. I am sad and frightened. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana. Those who are never taught history are doomed. – Me. Tonight, Turner Classic Movies will air “Shoah-Four Sisters” . “Shoah” means “destruction” in Hebrew and is how Jews themselves often refer to the Holocaust. If you have TCM, I suggest you sit down with the family and watch. Here is the preview for the U.S. version of the documentary:

I remember sitting in Zaro’s Bakery in Westport, Connecticut as an exhausted, young mother. I had done three corporate moves in two years, had a baby and ended up in the Northeast, a place I never even wanted to visit. I looked up from giving my son a piece of muffin. There sat a magnificently elegant older woman. She was dressed in a Chanel-style suit with three-quarter length sleeves, simple jewelry and perfectly coiffed hair. I felt defeated. I sat there in my sweats, with my hair in a pony-tail and thought that I would never be elegant. I would always be a mess.

Then, the woman moved and her right sleeve pulled up just a bit. There, tattooed on the inside of her right arm, was a crude set of numbers. It happened so fast. The pictures of the horrors this woman must have witnessed flashed through my mind. I resolved to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Later, I met another Holocaust survivor Nechama Tec, the author of the book “Dry Tears”. I was so honored and I highly recommend her book. The horrors that she witnessed in hiding will forever change your heart.

We cannot rely on government educators to teach our children history. They won’t. It is up to each of us who interact with children to teach them about the Germany of the 30’s and 40’s. We must help them understand the rise of Adolf Hitler and anti-Semitism.

We must resolve to NEVER FORGET.

Featured Image: The image from the cover of “A History of the Holocaust” by Yehuda Bauer/Public Domain

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