Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

It is also the day that the Red Army discovered and freed the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The Nazis knew the day was coming and had stepped up the murder of the residents. They had started to burn the evidence as they could and were marching the remaining prisoners to other camps that were further away from the oncoming Red Army and the other allies. 

Until the Russians came upon this camp the world had no idea how terrible the war really was. Hospitals were set up and the survivors were treated. Russian soldiers handed out chocolate to the children. More than the chocolate the survivors told stories of the human kindness they were shown. 

When I was in high school we spent a day at a local university learning about the holocaust, and we were given a chance to meet survivors. Each class was sent into separate rooms where a survivor would come in and share their story. When it was my class's turn to hear a survivor's story, a small man with a yarmulke entered the room with a kraft paper package under his arm. 

He spoke quietly as he recounted his story. He was a teenager when he and his family were rounded up and placed on a train. When he got to camp he was separated from the rest of his family and sent to the part of the camp where the people would could work were held. He never saw the other members of his family again. 

The whole room was silent except for the occasional crying sound. At the end of his story, he opened the package and held up what was inside. It was his uniform from the concentration camp. He told us how he had carried with him on every move he had made. He told us how he felt he needed to carry it to show the younger generations. He needed us to hear his words. He needed us to be the ones that would never allow anything like this to happen again. 

I am sure he has passed now, but I think of him from time to time. More so lately. There are people now exploiting the symbols of these survivors and claiming that they are being treated in a similar manner to the people that were held in concentration camps. I am mortified by these people. How is anything they are going through even a drop in the bucket compared to the people that were actually tortured and murdered?

We have let down the survivors. We are allowing these people to tarnish their memories and all that they lived through. This faction of people is spitting on all the survivors. This cannot be allowed to continue. I don't know what the answer is, or how to open their eyes to their ignorance. I know they are the minority, ut ignoring them and letting them continue to act this way is negating the message that we were given, it goes against our basic principles. It's time to stop ignoring this group in the hopes that they go away. 

They speak of herd immunity. Maybe instead of herd immunity from the virus, we as the herd need to remind them where they stand. I watch my dog play with my dad's puppy. She corrects the puppy and teaches her what is correct behavior and what isn't. Maybe we, as the majority, need to take a lesson from her. 


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