January 27 was Holocaust Memorial Day. It was a sunny but cold day where we live, perhaps not unlike the weather in January in 1945, when the camps were discovered and liberated by American and British and Russian troops. Perhaps it is not unlike the weather on many days before the liberation, but weather six million didn’t experience on this day in 1945.
Over the years since then, in countries around the world, memorials of one kind or another have come to mark that terrible tragic time for the Jewish people, and for others like the Gypsies, who somehow were conceived as a threat to a powerful madness emanating from the minds of the National Socialist party in Germany. What happened to these human beings was the party’s answer to problems the Nazis themselves helped create.
If you look about you, you will find books, pictures, films and paper records that display the true and documented account of what happened to six million and more, when the rest of the world stood by and did nothing. There were those who did something, of course. In Denmark, in Poland, even in Hungary and Austria and Germany and other places. Many of those who stood up have been called the Righteous, have had their names recorded along with the history of the Holocaust. Their stories have been researched and documented and proven. The stories of the survivors have been recorded and documented, too. Soon those people will be no more amongst us as age and aging capture them forever.
And yet. And yet there are those who say it didn’t happen. They are often found among those who say it didn’t complete the task Hitler set for his people. They would like to see it finished. They would like to see the world free of those they consider unfit, unworthy of life: the Jews, the Gypsies, the non-Aryans.
The Holocaust hasn’t really ended. Around the world acts are performed almost daily, aimed at finishing the "Final Solution." It can be finished, if the righteous fail to stand up again. But it can also be finished if those who believe the world doesn’t need, and can’t withstand a "final solution." Anti-Semitism, anti-anything that is not what you are or believe yourself to be, is certainly a final solution in the making. There is a larger question, though: who decides who should live and who should die?
I don’t think that is a question for one person to answer about another. It is a question that can be answered by hunger, by disease, and all-too-often, by war. Any one of these can occur naturally, and in the process of playing out, create the other two. The history of life is filled with examples. We don’t need to look far to find them.
We don’t need to look far for examples of holocausts in the making. Nor does a holocaust need to affect six million people. It takes only a religious or political philosophy that says there is only one true path, one single light and that all those who do not follow it do not deserve to live, that their lives can be destroyed and no one will notice or care. It can be something as simple as the color of a persons skin, or the country where they were born or where they live. And it takes a majority of the people nodding their heads, closing their eyes, turning their backs.
Only the Righteous can stop it from happening; those who look, and see, and call out, "This shall not happen - - - again!"