Holocaust Memorial Day

Eingangstor_des_KZ_Auschwitz,_Arbeit_macht_frei_(2007)

Sadly, hatred of ‘others’ is very often in the open these days, with much more just under the thin veneer of civilized society. It’s not enough to simply ‘never forget’ the events of the Holocaust, all forms of discrimination and hatred must be actively resisted. The Holocaust happened (and can happen again) when good people turn a blind eye to everyday hatred.

First they came for the Communists,
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist.
Then 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 out for me.
Martin Niemöller

The Holocaust didn’t begin in the gas chambers, it began with words of hate, because words matter. So, as we pause and remember, we need to reflect on how easy it is to dehumanise people and exclude them because they are different from us; maybe because of their colour or culture, their faith or politics, their gender or sexual orientation etc.

As well as remembering the evils of the past, we should commit to affirming all people, valuing everyone as part of the rich tapestry of humankind, and loving them as they are and for who they are.

2 thoughts on “Holocaust Memorial Day

  1. I was thinking of that poem but I could not remember who wrote it. As you say, hatred begins as an undercurrent. People must be aware that we are all alike in some ways and to celebrate everyone.

  2. At a lecture I attended some years ago the speaker said, it is very hard to make a human being kill another human being, in order to make it acceptable the selected group have first to be dehumanised,
    given another identity.
    Trump’s talk of immigrants being animals is the way things start, calling atheists terrorists is another.
    We need to be on our guard, ready to slap down these comments and make them unacceptable.

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