“If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example.” – Anne Frank
The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.
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Why we should never forget
It is difficult to talk or think about the Holocaust without becoming emotionally drained by the thoughts of mass genocide and the murder of women, children and men in such unspeakable acts of torture for the sheer sake of satisfying the insanity of an madman. The idea of innocent people brutally murdered at will, showered in gas chambers, starved to death, worked to the point of collapse and piled into ditches hundreds at a time upon their last breath is unthinkable during any time in our history.
The moment homes were raided and families were separated and forced into dirty, dark, germ and rat infested trains, their lives were over. There was no allies watching out for their well-being. There were no prayers for a speedy return. There were only death sentences for the crime of being born a certain way. In the end, hundreds, turned to thousands, then hundred thousands and then millions.
The murders were so systematic and random. How could anyone let something like this happen?
Image after image, video after video, memorial after memorial serves as a reminder that we cannot forget, ever. One man sought to annihilate all the Jews, lesbians, gays, sympathizers and others that didn’t fit his model of a perfect race in his quest for world domination. There are no words to describe this act of terror. Even today, as we speak openly about terrorism, hijackers, bombers and fanatics, there is no comparison to the fear that spread throughout Europe and the world. The Holocaust was such a traumatic time, that many have mentally blocked the entire idea of this time from their memory bank.
If you speak to survivors or descendants there are so many extreme emotions of hatred, fear, sorrow, pain and remorse for families, friends, neighbors who had their families ripped apart, tortured and killed. There was no escape from the pure evil on Earth that Hitler and the Nazis brought into every territory they invaded and took over.
Today survivors, families and descendants continue the message of remembrance and hope that an event like this should never repeat. At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., each guest is given a card with a picture and biography of a Holocaust victim to hold during their stay. As you slowly walk through each room and corridor hearing the stories and seeing the images, you hold the memory of one that lived and died during this period. It is hard to imagine that over six million people would have to walk through those doors to each hold one memory. That is only those that were able to be identified.