Monday, January 27, 2014

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by the Soviet army.

It is remembered throughout the world as Holocaust Memorial day, when we keep alive memories of the millions of victims who were murdered in cold blood by the Nazi regime and their allies as part of their genocidal attempt to exterminate all humans who did not fit in with their plans to reshape humanity.

This moving account by an 87-year old Holocaust survivor of what it was like to be sent to a concentration camp is an example of the memories we must keep alive. The Nazi genocide was not the first or the last genocide in history but to make it as difficult as possible for such atrocities to recur we must start by ensuring that this evil is never forgotten.

There was another excellent piece on the subject yesterday by Ed Vaisey on Conservative Home here.

While the largest single group of victims were the Jews, it is also important to remember how wide the net of murder cast by the Nazis and their allies eventually became. There is some overlap and a great deal of approximation in these figures, (although there is no reasonable doubt that many millions of people in the catetories listed below were murdered by Hitler's regime and those of his allies.) The death toll among victims of fascist persecutions between 1935 and 1945 is believed to have included -

5.9 million Jewish people

2-3 million Russians, mostly prisoners of war

1.8 to 2 million ethnic Poles

A large number of Gypsies - estimates range from 220 thousand to 1.5 million

About a quarter of a million people with disabilities

Between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons

20,000 to 25,000 Slovenes

5,000 to 15,000 gays

2,500 to 5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses.

Unknown numbers of Trade unionists and activists of any party other than the Nazis.

We must and will remember them.

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