Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day… recognized every January 27th because it was on this day in 1945 that the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liberated.
For all my Jewish friends and family, there isn’t much I could write here that they don’t already know… but this is going out more to everyone else, because I want to touch on the topic in a way that involves everyone… because, at the end of the day, this affects everyone, not just the unfortunate 6,000,000.
In second place to the most easily disprovable conspiracy theory (flat earth being number one) is holocaust denial. And while flat earthers just amuse me and make me a little sad, holocaust deniers get me angry. Very angry. There’s a video clip somewhere of some idiot “Moon Landings Were Faked” conspiracy theorist hounding Buzz Aldrin on the street, trying to shove a bible in his face and trying to make him swear on it that he actually walked on the moon. Calling him a liar and a thief. Buzz tries to get away from him, can’t… and eventually loses his cool and punches the guy in the face. I get it. It’s what anyone can expect from me as well if you question something that’s, unfortunately, far too close to home; going back on both sides of my family, more perished than survived the holocaust… and some entire branches in Auschwitz itself.
Hearing the nonsensical “here’s an aerial view of the camp… there’s no way that blah blah blah….” type of arguments… and setting aside the overwhelming quantities of first-hand evidence and eyewitness accounts… here’s a simple question in return: The well-documented and widely published European census of 1933 counted 9.5 million Jews. In 1945, that number was around 3.5 million. It’s really a very simple question… where did all those people go? If this was a big conspiracy, where did they all hide? Six million people is a lot… where are their kids and grandkids? The world population of Jews was 16.6 million just before WWII, and it still hasn’t recovered. Today, it’s still less than 15 million.
At the insurrection at The Capitol three weeks ago, there was a guy with a “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirt. There was a guy with a shirt that stated “6 million wasn’t enough”… and that right there answers the question, if there was any doubt, as to why we need a Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is, of course, first and foremost… to recognize, remember and honour those 6 million… but part of that is remembering for the future; spreading the message far and wide… not only did this happen, but it can happen again. And not just with Jews, but with anyone. Yeah, anyone… consider the fact that Jews weren’t geographically tied to any place. There’s never justification for genocide, but at least you can understand the tribalism when one group of people who look a certain way march into the territory of others who don’t look like them and decide to get rid of them all and take everything. It’s not a justification, but perhaps an explanation deep-rooted in the human animal of survival of the fittest.
But in this case, Jews were a thriving part of society… making up roughly 2% of the population and immersed within it at every level. Why target them? You know who else is 2% of the population? Red-haired people. Gingers. What would happen if some psychotic military leader somewhere in the world today decided that red-haired people are clearly soulless, devil incarnates, and we need to get rid of them. Unfortunately, the events of three weeks ago leads me to believe that a not-insignificant population of brain-washed zombies might buy in. Yeah, it’s for the greater good… and hey, it’s not us they’re coming after… so, sure.
The motto of this day is “Never Again”… but the frightening part – perhaps the most impactful part – perhaps the most important and persistent legacy of Holocaust Remembrance Day – it needs to be this, and I will quote another Jew who managed to survive the holocaust… Albert Einstein: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
You’ve all read that poem… which to summarize, talks about how first they came for some guy, and nobody said or did anything… and then they came for some other guy and, again, nobody did or said anything…and eventually they came for me, and there was nobody left to help me.
This is why it’s critically important, not just to passively remember, but to actively be engaged at forging a future that can’t repeat the past… like throw the book at Donald Trump. And at the insurrectionists. And at the lawmakers who supported them. Because anything less is a tacit acknowledgement that as long as it doesn’t affect “me”… well then, whatever. It’s not my problem. This is the key that needs to be hammered home, and America almost got a taste of it… that by the time you’re saying, “Holy shit, what’s going on?!” – it might be too late. Everyone has to remember…it’s not just a question of letting people think it’s ok to get away with things when you think it doesn’t affect you; at the end of the day, it most certainly could. “If only we’d…” are not thoughts you ever want to be having when it affects your country, your home, your family.
Maybe they didn’t see it coming in Europe. That’s bullshit, but it’s an argument. Then when it arrived, well, maybe nobody knew it was going on. Also bullshit. I don’t buy it for a moment. Also – irrelevant. To some extent, if it’s not already here, it’s coming. It might be tomorrow or it might be in 200 years… but somewhere between those two end points, the “it could never happen here” mantra will be chanted out shortly before whatever *it* is actually happens.
Or, everyone realizes that we’re all in this together, whatever *this* is, and we maintain an active – not passive – role in maintaining it. As we’ve seen recently in countless examples, it takes a lot longer to build something meaningful than to destroy it.
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