Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a day to remember and honor all the lives that were taken from us. It is also a day to question how millions of people around the world could watch a genocide take place, how governments could wait so long to intervene.
I am the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Growing up I heard stories that no child should have to hear about atrocities that no human should ever have to endure. Yet there were also stories of enduring love and unbelievable bravery. My grandfather would tell them over and over again, any chance he got.
Truth be told, I debated what to write today, wanting to encourage others to remember but not quite wanting to go back there myself. My grandfather told those stories so that the generations after him would never forget. Yet the Holocaust is an uncomfortable topic, not just for those of us whose families suffered but for those who feel guilt for letting it happen – and perhaps even more for those who feel ambivalence.
If nothing else, the Holocaust has shown us the consequences of prejudice, oppression and stereotypes. It reminds us of our responsibilities to act for humankind and what can happen when we sit idly or remain afraid to speak up on behalf of others.
So on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I’ll share with you some resources so that you can learn the history of the Holocaust, seeing the faces and hearing the voices of those who were there too.
– Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, which has welcomed more than 30 million visitors, including more than 9 million school children since opening in 1993. Today 90% of the Museum’s visitors are not Jewish, and our Web site receives visits from over 100 different countries daily.
– Watch interviews online from the International School of Holocaust studies at Yad Vashem in Israel or from the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, a collection of over 4,400 videotaped interviews with witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust.
– Learn through technology. The Holocaust Mapping Initiative overlays key Holocaust sites and historic content from the Museum’s collections on Google Earth and other maps.
Let us never, ever forget.