Today is an important day. It is Holocaust Memorial day. A day where we remember all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War Two. The UN chose this date in particular because, on this day in 1945 The Soviets army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau. This camp was the biggest concentration camp of the Nazis and it was ran by Rudolf Hoess, who would be charged with his crimes against humanity during the Nuremberg trials and hung for his crimes, at the Auschwitz camp.
For me today is important because it’s a reminder that even in the 20th century, an intelligent civilised population could still commit crimes like this. Obviously a lot of research has been done into why it happened, why people let it happen, why people – as a collective – didn’t do something. I think we’re at a stage now where we have punished the people who were in charge, this was done in numerous trials after the way, in particular the Nuremberg trials. People have spent years hunting Nazis and making sure they are punished for what they did. But we still like to play the blame card, in my opinion. For example, when a small child asks who ‘whose fault was World War Two?’ How many people would be inclined to say ‘Germany was to blame.’ We do it because it’s the simple answer and obviously we don’t want to burden a small child with the horrors that we know happened. Even though we all know it was a lot more complicated than that.
Today I will be thinking about those concentration camps and the horrors that innocent people went through, just because of their beliefs. It will be a day to remember people like Anne Frank and Oskar Schindler, a man who saved countless lives but risking his own by doing so. It’s a day where we all promise that we’ll never let this happen again.
We’ve been saying that since it happened though. And genocide still occurs. Admittedly not on the same scale, but it still happens and it’s frightening that even in the 21st century, we’re basically powerless to stop it. I think the world learnt a lot from the Nazis, but one thing we still haven’t learnt is how to get a long with each other. We still see the after effects of the World War Two, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars and so on. We haven’t stopped fighting and that’s a shame.
Anyway today is not about them, it is about the millions and millions of people who died during the Holocaust. I’m pretty certain I’ve gone off subject quite a bit in this, but my main point is that these people should never be forgotten. The way we don’t forget our soldiers who don’t come back from war, we won’t forget the people who perished at the hands of the Nazis. And as long as we have access to books, internet, media and so on, these peoples voices deserved to be heard.