Who Cares About the Holocaust Anymore?

Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom HaShoah (meaning "Day of the Catastrophe") has taken place every year on the 27th of Nisan since its inception in 1951. At 10:00 AM local time in Israel, everything comes to a stop as a siren is heard all over the country. Motorists literally stop in the middle of the road and observe two minutes of silence. It is both eerie and poignant!

This year more than ever we need to remember what took place in Nazi Germany almost 80 years ago:

• At a time when Israel is falsely accused of ethnic cleansing in their very own land, we must remember the days when Jews were almost eradicated from the face of the earth.

• At a time when it is becoming more and more dangerous to be Jewish anywhere in the world (except Israel), we must remember those who died simply because they were Jewish.

• At a time when worshipping in a synagogue could end in a lethal terror attack, we must remember the victims of Pittsburgh and San Diego and all other houses of worship around the globe.

• At a time when the world is pushing for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, we must remember that it already took place during the November 1938 Kristallnacht and that there is nothing new under the sun.

• At a time when the US Congress has been infiltrated with a new generation of anti-Semitic representatives, we must remember when Jewish people didn't have a voice in government.

• At a time when a mainstream US newspaper publishes yet another virulently anti-Semitic cartoon, we must remember 2,000 years of anti-Jewish caricatures leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths.

• At a time when two-thirds of millennials do not know what Auschwitz is, we must remember the motto "NEVER AGAIN."

• At a time when anti-Semitism is becoming the new normal around the world, we must remember that according to Edmund Burke, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing."

And finally, at a time when much of the world would rather not talk about the Holocaust, undermine its tragic outcome or worse, pretend it never happened, we must remember it, lest it happens again. Nobody cares about something they forgot, don't know about or believe never took place. Historical revisionism is akin to time travel to the past hoping to erase a part of history that is uncomfortable or hard to deal with. But we cannot erase the past and we must learn from it, as painful as it is. There is an increasing numbness to the rise of the new anti-Semitism that should send chills down the spine of all people of good will. It is like some sort of "anti-Jewish fatigue."

This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day coincides with the National Day of prayer on May 2, 2019. Wherever we are located, either at 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM local time, it might be a good idea for us to pause in our busy day and pray for the remaining family members of the six-million and to the memory of those same victims. Keep in mind that if we were to have one minute of silence for all the victims of the Holocaust, it would require us to be silent for over eleven years straight!

We can all spend two minutes to remember the Holocaust, but we should all spend the rest of the year to fight those who try to undermine it, ridicule it or erase it from history! The future of many Jewish people could depend on our involvement!

How can the UN both remember and ignore the Holocaust?

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article entitled "Are we talking too much about the Holocaust," in which I came to the conclusion that it was not that we speak too much of the Holocaust, but maybe that we speak of it in the wrong context. As we are days from remembering the Jewish Catastrophe as an international community, I cannot help but ponder on the United Nations' double standards about the tragic event that took the life of six million innocent Jewish people.

Every January 27, the international community remembers the Holocaust with various services, memorials and exhibits across the globe. That date also coincides with the anniversary of the Liberation of the "Death Factory" at Auschwitz-Birkenau. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was initiated in 2005 by the United Nations through UN Resolution A/RES/60/7. It is different from Yom Ha Shoah (Day of the Catastrophe) or Holocaust Remembrance Day that was initiated by David Ben Gourion in 1953 and takes place every year in Israel on the 27th of Nisan.

The United Nations has been making efforts to remember the Holocaust, and that is commendable. I am not sure why it took the international community 60 years to declare a day for Holocaust memory, especially in light of the death of more and more of the survivors in the last few decades and the push by many pseudo-historians to deny that it ever took place. Nevertheless, the UN do recognize the Holocaust. But there are two sides to that coin!

I find it interesting that the United Nation's webpage for the event has the following statement: "Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community". (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.)

The UN found it crucial to include "Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people" in their statement, most likely referring to the Nazi regime's attempt at completely destroying the Jews. But when we look at the UN's role in contemporary antisemitism and demonization of Israel, one wonders if it applies to current events?

Furthermore, UN Resolution 60/7, seems to be suffering from a very strong case of double standards when it comes to the Holocaust, Israel and the Jewish people, especially in light of Resolution 2334 passed in November 2016. Amongst other things, the text of UN Resolution A/RES/67 states that they urge, reject and condemn, but do they?

• Urges Member States to develop educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide, and in this context commends the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research; yet many Arabs members of the current UN either finance the Palestinian cause or heavily promote its revisionist narrative.

• Rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or part, yet the UN has no problem supporting the Palestinian Authority whose leader Mahmoud Abbas wrote his dissertation on Holocaust Denial.

• Condemns without reserve all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur; yet UN member states turn their back on crimes against humanity committed by the Hamas, victimizing the Palestinians while demonizing Israel.

Now we have Resolution 2334 passed last November that literally makes the building of more settlements illegal in Israel. This is added to UNESCO's shameful decision to call the Temple Mount by its Arabic name and stripping it from all its Jewish roots, thus fueling and validating further Palestinian violence in that area. The recent Paris Conference sanctioned by the UN would have liked to see Israel going back to pre-1967 borders. These are the indefensible lines that Jewish diplomat Abba Eban rightfully called the "Auschwitz Borders."

I place very little faith in the ethics of the United Nations. It is true that it is through that organization, Israel was voted into a modern state in 1947. Since then, the UN has passed more resolutions against Israel than against many other countries combined. So when they say "The Holocaust was a turning point in history, which prompted the world to say "never again". The significance of resolution A/RES/60/7 is that it calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future, this means very little to most Jews.

Words without actions carry no weight, especially in the case of the Holocaust! How can the UN both remember and ignore the Holocaust? Well, they can't! In the meantime, countries AND individuals can do their part to remember and tell the future generations. We can start by visiting the Shadows of Shoah site that very tastefully give an eternal voice to the few surviving victims of the Shoah.

Because of them and for the rest who speak no more...NEVER AGAIN!

Yom HaShoah: Retell the Story or Repeat History! | by Olivier Melnick

It was in 1953, only eight years after the close of World War Two that Yom HaShoah became an official national memorial day in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion established that day as a yearly memorial of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Since then, every year and all over the world, Jewish people remember the Shoah or "Catastrophe" as they perpetuate the memory of their lost, loved ones. In Israel, on that day, a minute of silent reflection is observed at 10:00 AM as a siren is heard all over the country. It isn't unusual to even see motorists stop in the middle of the road and get out of their cars to observe that solemn moment.

Historically speaking, the Shoah is a unique genocide for at least one reason. It is the only attempt at annihilating a people group–The Jews–by even going outside of the area where they resided to gather them and bring them back to a certain death. It was an orchestrated, organized attempt at the total destruction of European Jewry. With all other genocides, as brutal as they might have been, there was always a way for potential victims to escape and/or immigrate. This was rarely the case for the Jews during the Holocaust years.

The importance of perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust cannot be underestimated. It is not about dwelling on the past for the sake of dwelling on the darkest days of Jewish history, but rather for the sake of preventing another "Catastrophe" in the future.

General Dwight Eisenhower caught the importance of documenting and remembering the Holocaust the minute that he walked inside the camps. As he visited one of the sub-camps of Buchenwald with Generals Bradley and Patton, he started to realize the magnitude of what he was witnessing and immediately wrote a letter to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General George Marshall in which he said: ...The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick....I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”
And yet, despite the commendable efforts made by Eisenhower and others, the Holocaust currently runs the risk of being relegated into some obscure corner of history, even worse...Some will soon believe that it simply never happened.
How could we possibly go from NEVER AGAIN to NEVER HAPPENED in 70 years? Holocaust denial is gaining a lot of momentum globally. Consider this:

Unfortunately, I could keep adding to this list. The point is that in 2015, 70 years after the events of the Shoah, we run the great risk of forgetting it. The last remaining survivors are in their 80s and 90s, with some even over 100 years old. It will not be long before we will no longer be able to talk to anyone who lived through that era. That is one reason why it is crucial to repeat and repeat the story of the Holocaust. The dwindling number of survivors coupled with the sick desire of some to negate the whole tragedy is a very dangerous combination.

Of course, much of history remains recorded for us in numerous books, journals and pictures. But as it pertains to Israel and the Jewish people, once again the standards are different. I am convinced that with an evergrowing animosity for the Jewish state and the global Jewish community, many would feel no guilt if the Holocaust ceased to be remembered, commemorated or even acknowledged.

Iran is working around the clock to acquire a nuclear bomb, Hamas has the destruction of Israel as part of its charter, many liberals and academics are preaching anti-Semitic messages on university campuses and even extreme right-wingers are now resurfacing.

Some claim that the Holocaust never happened, some claim that it was greatly exaggerated, some claim that it was used as Jewish propaganda and some think that we talk too much about it. The frightening truth is that according to a recent survey by the ADL, 1/3 of the world population believes that the Holocaust was a myth... One third!

If you and I do not retell the story of the Holocaust to our peers and our children, history will repeat itself! Yom HaShoah might be one day a year, remembering the Shoah must remain an on-going daily effort.

In memory of my Grandfather Maurice Weinzveig, born 4 December 1898, Olikka, Russia
Who perished in Auschwitz. One in six million.