World Marks 70th Anniversary Of The Liberation Of Auschwitz
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, a day on which many paused to remember the lessons of the Holocaust and to recommit in the face of continued genocide around the world.
“Humankind united to overcome the Nazi menace. Today, we are being tested again. Minorities everywhere often face bigotry. Sectarian tensions and other forms of intolerance are on the rise,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said today.
As Arsen Ostrovsky noted in The Jerusalem Post, while the Holocaust marked an unfathomably brutal representation of evil and anti-Semitism, the virulent strain has not been eradicated.
“Whether it is the kosher supermarket attack in Paris this January, the shooting in the Brussels Jewish Museum last year, or frequent assaults against Jews and vandalism of synagogues and Jewish stores, there is an increasingly palpable sense of fear and insecurity among many Jewish communities in Europe,” he says.
According to a November 2013 report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, one-fourth of European Jews hide their identity out of fear of anti-Semitism.
Such a step is not irrational considering the findings of a May 2014 report by Anti-Defamation League which estimated that 26 percent of the world’s population harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, with Western Europe at 24% and Eastern Europe at 34%. In 2015, it is widely expected that these figures will be even higher.
Some Holocaust survivors took notice of the reality that their numbers are dwindling and how to ensure the lessons continue to be taught after they are gone.
“Today, in the name of truth, we need to fight the attempts to relativize the Shoah,” President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland told The New York Times. “The memory of Auschwitz means the memory of the importance of freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights,” he added.
London’s Telegraph newspaper has an interesting article about a story written three years before the liberation of Auschwitz in which the author revealed the existence of Nazi gas chambers.
The article, which was headlined, “Germans murder 700,000 Jews in Poland” and printed on June 25, 1942, the unknown author writes that “an average 1,000 Jews were gassed daily”.
The story methodically lists the death toll from massacres in seven different towns and cities.