When I was a little girl of 9 years old, my Grandpa gave me a picture book called The Camps, showing scenes from the Holocaust and the concentration camps. When I asked him why he gave me this book of black and white photographs, he told me the story of the Holocaust, and about the millions of people — mostly Jews, but also Poles, political prisoners, Gypsies and other “undesirables” from as far away as Brazil and America — who had been taken from their homes, stripped of all their possessions, and thrown into camps where, over the course of World War II, the Nazis killed over 6 Million people.
It didn’t matter whether they were rich or poor, or if they were a doctor or a shoeshine boy; if they were a mother or a grandmother, the Nazis herded them into train cars and took them to one of the 300 camps that the allies found when they liberated Germany from Nazi rule in 1945.
Grandpa told me that it was imperative that we always remember what Hitler and his followers had done, and what the German people let themselves be talked into, because if we ever forgot, it could happen again.
I’ve always remembered it, and I have visited more than one Holocaust museum here in the United States.
It’s not a fun day trip, like going to an art museum or a museum of natural history, but it’s important. I can always hear Grandpa telling me “we must remember, so it cannot happen again”
Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is important that we not allow ourselves to be pushed into the herd; that we think for ourselves; that we analyze what politicians are saying and that we vote wisely — and that we do actually vote.
The allies took German people to the camps which the Allies had liberated, because it was the only way to prove to these German people that these camps actually existed, and that thousands were gassed to death in communal “showers” and thrown into mass graves, or that people were put into ovens like loaves of bread dough. There are still those who do not believe it happened, but we have proof.
In 1985, 40 years after Allied Forces marched into Germany and liberated the Camps, Frontline ran a show about what the soldiers saw and found when they arrived.
The full Frontline show can be found here: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365463766/
But there’s a longer piece, edited and filmed in part by Alfred Hitchcock, which you can watch, below, which shows the horrors that were found. Horrors which we can never forget, or else we will allow them again. Don’t turn away from the horror. It is real and it was genocide. Just like the other countries which have been devastated by genocide. We must not allow politicians to tell us what to think or to do. We must be strong enough to stand up and fight those who lack human compassion and the ability to love others. Intolerance must not be abided in any country. To the six million people who were imprisoned, beaten, starved, experimented on, I can only whisper,” Rest in Peace.”