Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazi regime and their collaborators systematically rounded up and murdered approximately six million Jews. Sadly, there were genocides before, and have been genocides since, but this one was particularly atrocious, both in the number of people murdered and the cold-blooded, systematic nature of it. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to recall the horrors of the past and learn from them.
The museum Yad Vashem in Jerusalem has a Hall of Names, shown above, with Pages of Testimony for those who died, including photos and personal details. The collection of testimonies is ongoing, but thus far, they’ve collected 2.7 million Pages of Testimony.
Here are some words from Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel.
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. To be in the window and watch people being sent to concentration camps or being attacked in the street and do nothing, that’s being dead.
Action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all.
Thanks to Kim at By Hook or By Book for her post that let me know about this day of remembrance.