National Holocaust Remembrance Day

On January 27, 1945, the Red Army, on their march across Poland, came upon the compound of 40+ concentration and extermination camps that composed the Auschwitz complex. Of the 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died. 1.1 million in 3 years. General Vasily Petrenko, commander of the 107th Infantry Division, remarked, “I who saw people dying every day was shocked by the Nazis’ indescribable hatred toward the inmates who had turned into living skeletons. I read about the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in various leaflets, but there was nothing about the Nazis’ treatment of women, children, and old men. It was in Auschwitz that I found out about the fate of the Jews.”

 In the Times of Israel article linked below, we read: “Nearly all of the children brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau were murdered upon arrival in gas chambers. Slightly more than 700 children (of all nationalities) survived until liberation, most of them because they were chosen by “doctor” Josef Mengele and other SS men for “experiments.”

In the spring of 1945, Eisenhower’s tour of the Ohrdruf concentration camp in Germany included encounters with corpses “piled like wood” and “living skeletons” struggling to survive. Immediately, Eisenhower foresaw a day when people would deny these horrors took place.

Get it all on record now,” said Eisenhower. “Get the films, get the witnesses, because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say this never happened,” said the commander, who invited media to film a parade of German townspeople brought into the camp to bear witness.”

The lessons must never be forgotten.

‘Hate Never Disappears. It Just Takes a Break for a While.‘ (Time) The Capitol assault, with some assailants wearing “Camp Auschwitz” and “6MWE” (Six Million Wasn’t Enough, a reference to the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust) was shocking – but it’s not new. White supremacist groups and pro-Nazi sentiment go back to at least the 1930s. Jan. 6, 2020 showed us that pro-Nazi sentiment still endures. 

On This Holocaust Memorial Day Be The Light In The Darkness (Forbes) Remembering victims of the Holocaust and of the Nazi atrocities is important. Yet, it is also important to ensure that the memory of the atrocities is used to help prevent the commission of further mass crimes, genocides and crimes against humanity.

Prince Charles shares poignant message ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day: Be the Light. (People) “This is our time when we can, each in our own way, be the light that ensures the darkness can never return.”

International Holocaust Remembrance Day focuses on the 1.5 million children killed by Nazis (Times of Israel) – “The adult world — after all, so often unjust and cruel — has never demonstrated so much of its heartlessness, its evil,” said Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, director of the Polish Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. “This [murder of children] cannot be justified by any ideology, reckoning or politics. This year we want to dedicate the anniversary of liberation to the youngest victims of the camp.”

Holocaust Memorial Day: #everynamecounts (Deutsche Welle) – The names of 10 million victims of the Holocaust are recorded in the Arolsen Archives. For a week, these names will be projected publicly in Berlin, and shared with the world via livestream.

Holocaust Memorial Day: the dress that gave hope after the horror (The Telegraph UK) – Gena Turgel married the soldier who helped free her – now her wedding gown (made out of a parachute) will be on display at the Imperial War Museum.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance partners with the European Commission, the UN and UNESCO to raise global awareness of how to counter Holocaust distortion. (IHRA) – Holocaust distortion is becoming increasingly prevalent in contemporary culture, from media to politics and across the ideological spectrum.  A panel discussion on challenges posed by this distortion will be streamed live on the IHRA FB page at 9 am.

Commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day Virtually – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will host a ceremony on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, to convey the urgent responsibility to protect the lessons and legacy of Holocaust history and to defend the truth. The ceremony will be streamed on its YouTube page starting at 10 A.M. PT. 

Encourage the capacity for reverence with storytelling beyond the trauma – Take a listen to Boyd Matheson on “Inside Sources” as he talks about Holocaust Remembrance Day and the late, great Rabbi Lord Sacks who challenged the world to “teach beyond the trauma.”