I trust that most of us are aware and shaken by the three anti-Semitic episodes that have recently occurred in the Lewisboro school district. It brings home the reality that anti-Semitism is very much alive, even as the presumably young perpetrators have little knowledge of the implications of a swastika and the devastation and savagery that was the Holocaust.
Perhaps unknown to many of you is that today, January 27th, marks World Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was in November of 2005 that the United Nations designated this day as such because it was the day of liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration or extermination camp known as the “Death Factory.” While the United Nations organization is usually so misguided in its pronouncements concerning things Jewish, this commemoration aims to remember and honor the Holocaust victims, and calls for the development of educational programs about the Holocaust and its lessons. The mandate formally rejects any denial about the veracity and extent of the holocaust, and urges the preservation of Holocaust or Nazi-related artifacts and sites like the concentration, labor and prison camps.
The resolution also condemns ethnic or religious discrimination as it states: “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.” But ultimately, all these aspects point to the aim of preventing a similar case of genocide today and in the future.
It was George Bernard Shaw who observed that “the worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them; but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of inhumanity.” And so, at a time when there are so many who would deny the atrocity that was the Holocaust; at a time when we see an increase in hate-crimes directed at Jews; at time when there seems to be a mean, intolerant spirit in so many places in the world, let us be among those whose voices and whose actions help to bring healing to our hurting world. Yes we owe the victims of the Holocaust more than remembrance. We owe them our resolve and our actions that will lead to a more tolerant and humane world.