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The Responsibility We Bear on Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Responsibility We Bear on Holocaust Remembrance Day

We are currently facing a time of division that we have not faced in our recent history. Because of this, it becomes crucial to reflect on and learn from the past. The fractures in our society have led to a lack of understanding and empathy. We must remember our shared history, foster healthy dialogue, and stand up against discrimination to build a future where no group of people faces elimination.

Our current reality is marked by increasing polarization, where any of the latest news will show how expressing opposing views can result in anger and violence. However, the foundation of our nation was built on the principles of listening, digesting, and engaging in healthy dialogue with those who differ from us. We must revive these values to bridge the gaps that threaten the fabric of our society.


What is International Holocaust Remembrance Day? 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day occurs each year on January 27th, as this is the date in 1945 when the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated. This day of remembrance serves as a reminder of the atrocities committed during a dark chapter in history. It is not merely a commemoration of the elimination of 6 million Jews but a reflection on the systematic discrimination faced by various groups. In addition to Jewish people, other victims of the holocaust include handicapped individuals, black and mixed-race people, homosexuals, Roma/Gypsies, political dissidents, and even Catholic and Christian priests were targeted during the Holocaust. We must not forget to speak up for those who cannot do so for themselves, defending them against undeserved acts of hate.


Diversity Enriches Society

The United States is often celebrated as a melting pot, strengthened by its diversity. The contributions of individuals from every race and background have enriched our society and propelled us forward. Had we followed Nazi tenets and beliefs, we would have missed out on the contributions and genius of inventors like Nickola Tesla, George Washington Carver, Stephen Hawking, Garrett Morgan, and Hedy Lamarr, each with their unique backgrounds, would have been silenced, robbing the world of their genius. Like the poem, ‘First They Came’, by Pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.


You Can Make a Difference

As we observe Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is a call to action. We must actively listen to those with differing beliefs, fostering understanding and empathy. In a time of resurging discrimination and a general sentiment of hate, it is up to each of us to speak up against acts of injustice. By doing so, we honor the memory of those who suffered during the Holocaust and work towards creating a future where no group of people face elimination.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is not just about looking back; it is a reminder of the responsibility we bear to shape a future free from discrimination and hatred. Remember, listen with an open mind, stand up for the voiceless, and we can build a nation that embraces diversity and unity, ensuring that the mistakes of history are never again repeated.