Friday, January 27, 2017

Lest we forget: remembering the Holocaust

As I posted this morning, today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

There are two opposite errors we can make in respect of ghastly events like the Nazi Holocaust or indeed any other genocide.

One is to remember in a way which fuels the cycle of hate: the other is to try to forget.

I firmly believe that if we insist that terrible crimes like Hitler's "final solution" must never be forgotten similar events are less likely to recur - provided we also remember that there are good and bad people in any race or other category of human beings and that seeking revenge for perceived past wrongs not against individuals but against entire races was the main cause of the catastrophe.

Those who died at the hands of the Nazis, and the victims of every other genocide, should be remembered not as symbols or as part of a collective group, but as individual human beings, each of whose deaths cost the world a unique and precious life, snuffed out by hatred.

There is an excellent piece in the Guardian today which quotes the stories of six of the few remaining Holocaust survivors, which you can read at

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/14/surviving-holocaust-didnt-allow-hatred-grow-memorial-day

What impresses me most about these stories is how little anger and hate these writers display. This is enormously to their credit. Perhaps next time we are tempted to get angry with people for, say, expressing an opinion which we don't happen to share of voting in a way which we think is foolish, it might be worth thinking about the way these people who have suffered so much more than most of us respond to it.

We must try to remember the horrors of genocide, but with sorrow, not with hate.

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