START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
1,799,445 people care about Human Rights

Remembering the Murder of Millions

Remembering the Murder of Millions

“When I sleep, I dream, I dream, I dream. We did not know who was going to be left alive. ‘Don’t forget, tell the world,’ was the last thing our friends said before they were taken to their deaths.” ~ Joseph Sher,  survivor of a German ghetto and labor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; a tailor and father.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis’ most infamous complex of extermination camps. Of the 1.3 million men, women, and children who had been brought to the camps in cattle cars over the years of the Second World War, only about 7,000 remained by the time the Soviet soldiers reached the gates. In this camp, the Nazis murdered over 1.1 million people. They killed prisoners with poisonous gas, bullets, starvation, overwork, exposure, and disease. 

Yesterday, the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was the U.N.’s annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Though services in New York City were snowed out, all over the world, individuals, communities and countries honored Holocaust victims and survivors. Even Iran, whose President Ahmadinejad is a well-known Holocaust denier, recognized the day for the first time this year. MSNBC has a photoblog of several memorial services, including a gathering of survivors at Aushwitz-Birkenau.

“Let us remember, let us remember the heroes of Warsaw, the martyrs of Treblinka, the children of Auschwitz. They fought alone, they suffered alone, they lived alone, but they did not die alone, for something in all of us died with them.” ~ Elie Wiesel, survivor of Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald; writer, professor, and Nobel Laureate

 

The vast majority of those in Auschwitz were Jews the Nazis targeted as part of Hitler’s genocidal “final solution,” but many other groups were also victims. According to the Museum and Memorial of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the camps’ prisoners numbered 1.1 million Jews, 140 to 150 thousand Poles, 23 thousand Sinti and Roma, or gypsies, 15 thousand Soviet prisoners of war, and about 25 thousand other captives, including members of other ethnic groups the Nazis deemed inferior, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, German “criminals”, and mentally disabled persons.

Over the course of the war, Auschwitz held about 232 thousand children. Only about 700 survived. Many of these children had been kept alive only because they were wanted for Josef Mengele’s twisted medical experiments.

“When my youngest brother shouted, which I still hear him screaming, ‘I want to live too!’ When they took us away, he shouted, ‘I want to live, I want to live!’ This picture will never, never in my life disappear from my eyes. A lot of times when I lie down, I still hear that voice. He was 3 years old. Even though they were that small, the little children knew what was happening to them.” ~ Eva Galler, Holocaust survivor who escaped from a train to a death camp; mother and Hebrew teacher

 

The Holocaust was one of history’s mass murders, in which Nazis killed over six million people. Millions more were wrenched from their homes, families, and countries, watched their loved ones die in front of them, lost every personal belonging, suffered excruciating physical and mental pain, and saw their communities dismembered as former friends and neighbors watched with indifference or even approval.

Remembering the Holocaust means grieving for the victims of the Holocaust, and the pain of the survivors. It also means celebrating the lives of those who survived, and those who were murdered. Even during the Holocaust, when the human potential for evil was given its full scope, there were acts of heroism big and small — Joseph Scher tells of two girls who smuggled explosives into his labor camp and destroyed a crematorium before being caught and hanged. Gentiles like Corrie ten Boom risked their lives to hide Jews and resistance fighters. In Bulgaria, the Christian mystic Peter Deunov rallied the Bulgarian people and the Tsar to refuse to deport any of Bulgaria’s Jews, saving them all. Even in the depths of the camps, inmates shared their pitiful stores of bread and comfort with each other, and gave each other strength.

“Our Courage is not shackled
Life is marvelously beautiful.”
~Israel Cendorf, a poet who died in Auschwitz, in a song that became the anthem of Pithiviers, a transit camp. Prisoners sang this song on their way to the gas chambers.

 

Remembering the Holocaust means grieving and honoring the victims’ and survivors’ bravery and compassion. It should also mean renewing our commitment to fighting genocide, a commitment we have betrayed time and time again. It’s shameful that we bludgeon our political opponents with language about the Holocaust, yet refuse to acknowledge or interfere in the systemic slaughter of men, women, and children. We have to do better.

“Do I want to remember, the creation of hell?
    The shouts of the Raiders, enjoying the hunt.
Cries of the wounded, begging for life.
    Faces of mothers carved with pain.
Hiding Children, driping with fear.
    No, I don’t want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember this world upside down?
    Where the departed are blessed with an instant death.
While the living condemned to a short wretched life,
    And a long torturous journey into unnamed place,
Converting Living Souls, into ashes and gas.
    No. I Have to Remember and Never Let You Forget.”
~Alexander Kimel, Holocaust Survivor and poet

 

You can read more first-person accounts of the Holocaust at HolocaustSurvivors.org, Remember.org, the website of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the website of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Holocaust survivors have also written numerous accounts of their experiences, including Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Night by Elie Weisel, and the dense but important Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt. I also recommend the graphic novel Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spielgelman, the son of a Holocaust survivor.

Related Posts:
400 Rabbis Pen Letter to Fox News on Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation
Parent Recommends Holocaust-Denying Book to His PTA
Holocaust Museum Attack: This Violence Must Stop

 

Read more: , , , , , ,

This photo of Auschwitz-Birkenau was found on Rodrigo Galindez's flickr, and is reused with thanks under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

88 comments

+ add your own
8:16AM PDT on May 5, 2011

The best thing we can do for the millions is to REMEMBER them.

Never again should this kind of thing be allowed to happen. In this craziness no man woman or child is safe. Hatred is easy. Love of your fellowman is hard.

7:55AM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Thank you for posting.

5:34AM PST on Feb 18, 2011

May we never forget the genocide perpetrated by Hitler and his Nazi regime. May we never forget the recent genocide in the Balkans. May we know that genocide is a weakness born of human fear, ignorance ,greed and hate and has and is occurring on a regular basis around this world of ours. Be vigilant, vocal and stand up and be counted for peace, sharing, giving .....not for any religious conviction but for the future of this wondrous world we live in.

7:11AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

Who will speak out for us if we don't speak out for others. ? Time runs out for most of humanity. when is the right time to put mad dogs down.? Before they bite or after ? Would Israel speak for us the doomed ? Or has Israel become what they claim to hate..so closely they are embedded with the perpetrators of the next holocaust..a regime of globalists gone mad..and the American government is embedded just as deeply into the global regime. The tide has turned for mankind in a very evil way, the 4th Reich is alive and well in America.
How long will this evil walk unmolested among the great brave and free nation's government halls. ? Do these free nations even exist any longer. ? Not that I can see. A new machinery is running the world..a New World Order.. and it ain't pretty folks. My insides tell me that there will be no outcry. There will be no resistance until too late..hell coming to neighborhood near you soon.

6:59AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

They are emboldened. Much more powerful now. Much more focused and 50 years ahead of any resistance. The public has changed into a threatening mob of hate driven animals.Tis sickness has infiltrated our govts, The NAU agenda is bad enough..the last spike in their sick drive to commit the crime of genocide again. They have people against each other all over the planet..some they allow to starve, some they bomb into the stone age and pollute with cancer causing DU munitions. As they capitalize the planets resources more will die.
As the gain their dominance over us all millions if not billions will die under this sick regimes violence. And the people sleep. applaud..relish the plan..this segment is infecting the world with it's disease..these Nazis and their grand children now Americans. Assimilated after the war they have planed and schemed their way to power..this centuries old regime of greedy hatred..insanity, selfishness, is close to achieving their dream.
And the people sleep.,or applaud..deny, ignore, mock. Given their way, there will bigger piles of skinny half starved bodies in trenches. Mass graves of rot and ash. when I look at these republicans. I see the Nazis..I hear them when they speak of us openly and what they will do to us..the Injun, the blacks already dying in millions, the imperfect in their superior eyes.
And the people sleep, deny, avoid, mock, or applaud..this time..it is 5.5 billion people scheduled for the gas chambers of fema prisons.You are nex

6:45AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

Thats what he asked me, what am I some kinda wetback or something.? NO I said I'm not, I'm Native American. he gave me change..made a remark about a couple dolors for a 2 dollar Injun..I was 25 then..touring the US on holidays to Disney Land.. never made it..couldn't stomach the country any longer and went home. How does anyone live there if they are the wrong color ?
Now I read about republicans and their agendas, their Straussianism..their hatred and coldness. I've listened to the Republican clones in Alberta for 50 years now talking about their plans to clean the gene pool of the inferiors. like the poor, and the sick, the old, the wrong colors that offend them and their superiority, the mentally ill and the physically handicapped all to get a needle at an undecided age for being old or useless eaters and breathers..listened to Harper's imbeciles describe their plans to revoke native rights and settlements, to revoke seniors pensions, and student loans,.social safety nets and our health care..to name a few..not a ripple of it crossed the media after that one night it aired live..others witnessed it as well..so i'm not hallucinating the threats I see growing daily. I see it all, I hear it all, I know it all, and th emotions that generates in me are not pleasant..so I spend my days and nights writing about it,. on news forums, other sites..years ago I wrote letters condemning the govt for their ways..their crimes.
I never received an answer..the plan is much bigger now.

6:32AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

When I was a little Injun boy, my mommy showed a book from the library, not an old book, a new book, the war only over a few short years, this had lots of pictures, I couldn't read the words, but I understood the pictures of heaps of very thin bodies, my little eyes were for ever after seeing them, I see them now, my hair stands on my neck, and chills run down my spine. And mother told me, that because I am an Injun boy the people who walk our lands now hate me and will do that to me if I make them mad, and to stay quiet and try to look like them not an Injun, all my Injun Aunts and Uncles were ashamed of their being Injuns and made sure I knew that we didn't go there, we were better because we lived the way of the invaders.Those people too showed me their hatred, and mocked me, abused me, forbid their kids from playing with me, being a native they might catch something, the manager at the Shoppers Drug Mart a couple years ago told me the same thing.
I understand that mentality very well, so called pure Injuns are just as hate filled and for eons denied the mixed blood Injun any rights, this isn't a sickness reserved to only one people,it is a sickness held by all people, mankind suffers from this illness and creates suffering for others by it.
I know how it feels to be a Jew, to be shot at because I am expendable to white red necks in Alberta, or any where they stand, America, there too, mistaken for a wet back by a gas station owner, sneering at me, it is every where.

5:44PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Christina M, your ranting just doesn't make any sense.

You refer to the "genocide" at Sabra and Shatila. Do you not understand the word "genocide"? There is a HUGE difference between "genocide" and "tragedy." What happened at Sabra and Shatila was a tragedy, but neither genocide nor committed by Israelis.

I commend you for not mentioning "Jenin" -- another "genocide" that was blamed on Israel, and used by your fellow Israel-demonizers until the UN confirmed that the supposed massacre never happened and, in fact, Israel sacrificed many of its own soldiers specifically to limit the number of civilian casualties.

Now, you need to get up-to-date on what happened in Gaza. Even Hamas now admits that we were misled about the number of civilian casualties, and that most of the killed were (just as Israel claimed all along) fighters.

Of course, the number of civilian casualties would be even far less if Hamas (and Hizbollah) did not routinely use schools, hospitals, and homes as bases for storing and firing armaments. To limit civilian casualties, they might try not using ambulances to ferry soldiers. They might try not attacking troops and then blending in with civilians.

BTW, half my family was murdered in a REAL genocide. They knew what it was like to be INTENTIONAL targets of soldiers.

3:50AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

You think in terms that amuse me. Demonising the Jews. I worked for Jewish people is London and they were great people. As I am not a racist, I don't hate nations as that is also irrational. I don't know them all. How can I possibly hate someone I don't know - a whole nation, impossible with a sane mind.
I love people. It's also new to me that you can kill someone with a paintgun, must have been well trained.

Nevertheless, don't let us fight - we both probably want the same thing. That people, nations, countries, continents can join together and live free and happy lives. Love and Light Julia

2:30AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Fred Hayward, I wonder if your family were killed by an attack on your country by a government that tries to "limit civilian casualities" and take the time to inform you that your house will be destroyed and you will perish if you don;t leave immediately, if you would be so sympathetic to them, after all they drop some leaflets, right? Good to remember that when you're burying your child. It's not about living side by side it's about Israel to get out of the Palestinian territories and stop invading them. And what happened in Sabra and Shatila was a genocide and I don't see you weeping for the victims, or were they also collateral damage? If we are to remember one genocide we should remember all, but some genocides are kept silent for marketing purposes.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

I only wish this was all "in the past." Sadly South Dakota is actively removing children from native…

ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.