Joshua Simon
Henderson, NV


 

First they came for the Communists
and I did not speak outó
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Martin Niemoeller, pastor in the German Confessing Church who
spent 8 Ĺ years in a death camp.
We Must Never Forget

There is an old cliche that goes something like this: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." From the mid 1930ís to the end of World War II, the frightful event known as the Holocaust occurred. Six million Jews were slaughtered at the hands of Hitler and his men. Another six million Europeans were also murdered in an effort to "cleanse" the population. Hitlerís Final Solution was to wipe out every single person not of the so called "master race". In other words, genocide. How can this horrible event be prevented from repeating itself? What can be done to assure that the Jews or another racial minority are not some day wiped from the face of this planet forever? The story must be told, it must be repeated again and again and again. We must never forget.

Today, there are some holocaust survivors still alive. However, they will not be around much longer, most of them are well into senior citizenry and will pass on within a matter of time. Who then will be left to tell the story? The answer is everyone. Parents must tell their children, teachers must tell their students, friends must tell their friends. Movies must be made, books must be written, no matter what, the stories must continue. The most important people that need to learn the stories are the children. Children are by far the most impressionable members of society. If survivors, who were children during the holocaust, can impart to todayís children that hatred and bigotry are wrong; if they can scare young people with the horrors of the holocaust, they will grow up believing that events of the holocaust are events that can never be repeated again. They will impart to their children the same stories and within a few generations, hate and bigotry will have faded into nothingness. We must never forget.

I stated above, that we must scare children. It would seem that is a harsh statement, for why would anyone want to intentionally scare children? The reasoning is two-fold. One, the holocaust cannot be watered down. To tell children that Hitler was a "not nice man, who treated the Jews not so good" is an injustice to the dead and to the children. The concept of the holocaust must be feared, and with that fear will come respect, and with that respect will come understanding, and understanding is the key. We must never forget.

Throughout history, neighbors have fought against neighbor, nations have battled each other since the beginning of time. For what? For land? For resources? Cultural differences? Why do we continue to fight amongst ourselves. There must come a time that there is only one race, the human race. We cannot be consumed by petty differences, such as skin color, or religion. If the world is constantly obsessed over the fact that the Jews are doing this and the Catholics are doing that and thinking to themselves, "we have to stop them", the world cannot ever know peace. As long as people are afflicted with the need to make everyone believe in a specific view, there will be conflict and possibly another holocaust. Maybe not now, maybe not ten years from now, but it will happen, it is inevitable. The only solution is tolerance. People must be allowed to have their individual views and all those views must learn to coexist. Isaiah 2:4 says "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Only when the nations of the world learn to live in harmony will the threat of a genocidal holocaust finally cease to exist. We must never forget.

Throughout this essay, I have talked about the things that must be done on a grand scale to ensure a holocaust never happens again. While the ideas are sound, in practical application they may not be possible. Not yet. The question anyone reading this paper should be asking themselves is "What can I, the individual, do to make a difference?" The answer, as before, is to teach. If you are a parent, teach your children; if you are a teacher, teach your students; if you a rabbi or a priest, teach your wards; if you are a person who cares, teach anyone who will listen. In some cases, it is necessary to teach those who will not listen, you must open their ears, and their heart. We must never forget.

Jasenovac: 85,000. Warsaw: 200,000. Auschwitz: 1.1 million. These are some of the numbers that make up the 6 million killed in the holocaust. Are the numbers accurate? Who knows. Whether they are right or not is utterly irrelevant. The death of an innocent person based on race, gender, or belief, be it 10 million people, or only one, is unacceptable. I am a Jew. Ever since I was old enough to listen, I was told stories of the holocaust. Did I understand them? No, but I learned the stories. Now that I fully understand those stories, I can apply them and do my best to prevent bigotry. Can I stop a war? No. Can I stop the kid behind me in English class from making hate based remarks? Yes. Why do we do these things? Why do we tell stories? For the 6 million, because we must never forget.

 

Work Cited

Encarta Encyclopedia 99

 

www.holocaust.com

 

 

 


The opinions, comments, and sentiments expressed by the participants are not necessarily those of Holland & Knight LLP or the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, Inc.

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