Monday, April 16, 2007

Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah.

The day when Jews memorialize those who were murdered in the Holocaust.

Horribly enough, as the victims and eyewitnesses who remain die off and the living memory dims, as it becomes less common to see elderly people with numbers tatooed on their arms, the forces that want to deny that the Holocaust ever happened get stronger and more insistent.

Holocaust denial is a major industry today, and much of it is enthusiastically received ( and bankrolled) from the Islamic world, not only in the Middle East but at hundreds of mosques and madrassahs in the West, to the point where in Britain and elsewhere, educators avoid teaching about it so as not to make any waves or contradict what many Muslim youngsters are being taught at home or as part of their religious studies.

Hitler's modern heirs hold exactly the same views on the Jewish people that he did...that they are unworthy of life by their very nature.

To me, the most heart wrenching exhibit in the Museum of Tolerance is a picture of a pile of shoes. Children's shoes from Auschwitz, taken from their owners by the Nazis before they were herded naked into the gas chambers...or worse. I want to weep with sorrow and rage whenever I think of I try not to.

After the camps were liberated, General Eisenhower saw to it that these places of horror were filmed and the atrocities documented. As he wrote in `Crusade in Europe' over fifty years ago, Eisenhower foresaw a time when it would be convenient in certain circles to deny that the Holocaust happened, and he felt he had a moral responsibility to document it for all time.

Not only for the victims...but to ensure that it never happened to anyone else, ever again.

In that valiant and worthy goal, General Eisenhower failed, through no fault of his own.

The Nazis, as powerful as they were, were only able to succeed in killing three out of four Jews in Europe because they had plenty of accomplices who were not only willing to look the other way, but in many cases actively participated.

Today, as I look at the world around me, see what's happening in Darfur, and listen to the genocidal threats emanating towards the Jews, I think about this, and what it could mean for our own time.

We must say, over and over `Never Again' - not only for the Jews, but for the entire human family.

And more importantly, we must act on it.

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