As Remembrance Day approaches and we reflect on the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers, many communities also remember the Holocaust that occurred during World War II — when the Nazis murdered 11 million people, including 6 million Jews (1 million of them children) plus Gypsies, homosexuals, resistance fighters and others. With Holocaust Awareness/Education Week in cities across Canada, the important message is, Never Again. You don’t have to be Jewish to feel the horrors of what oppression and tyranny can do.
Among the educational programs available, there are first-hand testimonies from survivors. I was recently sent one survivor’s story online. It was beautiful, sad, touching — and almost unbelievable. It told of a young boy who survived the war, partially with the help of a young girl who’d throw food over the fence every day while he was in a German concentration camp. Years after the war’s end, these two people met on a blind date in New York. When they realized who the other was, they knew their fate was sealed, and that they had to be together forever.
They’ve been married nearly 50 years.
I Googled Herman Rosenblatt, and this story is as legit as the Holocaust itself.
Though only one historical event is referred to as The Holocaust, there’ve been other examples of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, such as in Cambodia, and Rwanda.
And that is why we need special times to educate and remember — because there are still places where horrific brutalities can, and do, exist.
More incredible, there are Holocaust nay-sayers — people who deny that the Holocaust really happened.
One such nay-sayer was a former Alberta MP. He made public statements expressing his views. Shortly thereafter, he was invited to lunch at a popular Edmonton restaurant by the owner. They discussed current events as contemporary acquaintances. At the end, the restauranteur asked the MP to retract his negative statement about the historical existence of the Holocaust.
The MP balked — why would he? The restauranteur rolled up his shirt-sleeve, exposing the numbered tattoo on the inside of his forearm, burned on by the Nazis.
The MP paled and subsequently resigned his position. I know that restaurant-owner personally, and that’s why I’m not using names.
We need survivors to help us teach each subsequent generation how to be more humane — kinder, gentler, more tolerant, more understanding. We still need books, movies, and information weeks to pass the stories down, generation to generation. So when the last of the survivors die, their children and their children’s children will continue teaching and educating.
We can never forget those people who die as a result of war, violence, or natural disasters. For from their loss we must learn how to do better as well as overcome.
US Defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), once famously remarked that, “History repeats itself. That’s one of the things wrong with history.”
We need to be the generation who changes that and make our world a better place to live.