A time for remembrance

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

I find it hard to even imagine, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In an act of genocide that still haunts the world, nearly six million Jews were murdered. The stories of the survivors have been told. The atrocities and horrors they lived through go beyond anything we have seen Hollywood try to capture. The pictures portray the pain and suffering beyond words–the pictures of men and women reduced to skin and bone in prisoners’ clothes with the Star of David stitched on their chests. How could anyone ever forget the Holocaust?

History will ensure that the records, testimonies and photographs from the Holocaust will live on. But there are individuals who claim the Holocaust was nothing more then a hoax-a lie made up by the governments and Jews to prosecute their opposition. They believe those hollow faces of men and women staring through barbed wire were nothing more than propaganda.

At the U, we will never forget. From April 11 to 15, the U will observe “Days of Remembrance” to remember the millions of victims of the Holocaust and what can happen to a civilized nation when racism, bigotry and indifference reign. With time distancing us from the events and lives of those who experienced the atrocities of the Holocaust, first-hand conspiracy theories have developed. Among anti-Semitic extremist religions and hate groups, an increasing denial of the Holocaust has taken root. It is now, more then ever, important that we commit to never forgetting what took place during the Holocaust and the stories of the survivors.

On April 27, 1998, Mahmoud Al-Khatib wrote in Al-Arab Al-Yom, a Jordanian newspaper, “What is the proof that Hitler and the Nazis murdered six million Jews in gas chambers? There is no proof at all, except for the conflicting testimonies of a few Jewish ‘survivors.’ If six million Jews had been burned, mountains of ashes would have been created, but we have never heard of this.”

Thoughts like this are permeating deeper and deeper into the public consciousness. The stories of those who survived and those who didn’t can never be forgotten or silenced by the skepticism of anti-Semitism.

“Days of Remembrance” will host lectures, screenings and a workshop to further U students’ understanding of the Holocaust and to recommit to never forgetting the victims. The keynote address by Edward Westermann, a military historian–to be held April 12 at 7 p.m. in the James Fletcher Building, Room 103–will focus on the German police and the dynamics behind their transformation into a militarized mass-murder machine.

It is important to understand how the everyday individual can be transformed into a militarized killer through ideological influence. I recall the saying, “Learn from your mistakes,” but I think the best way to learn is from the mistakes of others. The world has had to relearn the horrors of genocide and mass murder too many times. It is time we remember, so that it may never be repeated.

Available on campus are yellow cloth stars to commemorate the identity badges that have been imposed on the Jews throughout history. The message the badge carries is “Jews and non-Jews stand united in their struggle.” Through wearing one you commit to never forgetting what horrors were imposed on Jews throughout the Holocaust.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Let’s never forget the events of and the devastation that followed the Holocaust, lest mankind be forced to learn such a terrible lesson again.