Monday, April 12, 2010

Reflections On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Yom HaShoah, the day Israel and the rest of the Jewish world officially mourn the dead of the Holocaust.

In Crusade In Europe, his post-war memoir of WWII, Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower over sixty years ago 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:

"I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and every shred of human decency.Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources.I am certain, however that I never at any time experienced an equal sense of shock.

I visited every nook and cranny of that camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that 'the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.' {...}

I not only did so, but as soon as I returned to Patton's headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt."

General Eisenhower also saw to it that the camps were filmed and that a number of witnesses were given tours of the camps..and not only from overseas. Eisenhower and a number of local commanders forced the local townspeople to go through the camps from the adjoining German towns where the populace claimed ignorance. Footage still exists of American soldiers forcing Germans into the camps to look at what had been if some of those Germans hadn't been living downwind from the smell of burning flesh for years.

This jolly photo was taken in the German camp of Wobbelin. It was one of those places the Americans insisted on taking the townspeople for a little tour after the Germans insisted they had no idea of what was going on.

After they were forced to take the tour, the Mayor of the town and his wife both committed suicide.

In spite of his efforts, General Eisenhower failed in his goal, through no fault of his own.

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 tattooed 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.

Even worse than that is the behavior of many of the politicians of the West, who are now facing the threat of a new Holocaust by some of the deniers of the old one. And just like sixty years ago, it is not merely a threat to the Jews, but to themselves. Yet they seem destined to relive the past and repeat the same tired phrases of appeasement and cowardice as the winds of history shriek with laughter at their folly.

When Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu spoke in Israel on Yom Hashoah this year, he made no bones about it:

“The historical failure of the free world in facing the Nazi beast was in not confronting it when it could still be stopped," Netanyahu said, "today we witness the fire of the old-new hate, the hate of the Jews being spread by the regimes and organizations of radical Islam, spearheaded by Iran and its cohorts."

Iran’s leaders are hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons and publicly declare their intention to destroy Israel, “but in the face of the oft-repeated calls to erase the Jewish state from the face of the earth, we see at best mild protestations, and these too seem to be fading.”
There's an important difference today, however and Netanyahu is fully aware of it . This time, the Jews have a country and an army of their own. While the West may indulge itself in Holocaust denial again to its own ultimate peril, the Jews of Israel realize that not only do they not have the luxury of disbelief but that more importantly, they need not suffer for others indulging in it.

And that's the real message of Yom HaShoah, as well as the reason for Israel's existence....because this is a day of renewal as well as sadness, just as the nation of Israel has grown like a brilliant flame out of the ashes of a thousand Jewish communities of Europe liquidated in the Shoah.

Am Yisroel Chai.

please helps me write more gooder!


Anonymous said...

Yes, there is Israel,but it doesn't mean we don't need to be vigilant here. Too many live with their heads in the sand, just like the Jews of Germany did as Hitler rose to power.What is truly even sadder now though, are the Jews who help those anti-semites attempt to reach their new goal of genocide. It's sick really. No other word for it.

Anonymous said...

I was never a Bush fan or a Republican but I began to see he was not the boy who cried wolf, he very astutley predeicted an AXIS OF EVIL, one that is here NOW- threatening the borders and from within so many lands-
it is 1938--jewhate is on the rise- it was not until after 9-11 and I began researching and looking at historya nd they way alliances and opinions are chainging due to the revisionist history, Holocaust deniers and propgandists from Arabia and free countries dependence on their oil mkaing them sellout the JEWS again- and once again the canary in the coal mine is already dead and NO ONE GIVES A SHIT

Anonymous said...

This made me cry. Great job.