Lessons from the Holocaust – UCA News
With all our strength, our positive moral and political influence, we must inspire people to choose their leaders carefully.
We need to reflect on ourselves, our species. We humans with reflective intelligence and knowledge of higher values must urgently strive to be better human beings. By working together, we can change the world by teaching truth and honesty, setting a good example, sharing our knowledge, helping our neighbors, and leading virtuous lives.
By sharing the values of what is right, true and just, virtuous people can live in peace with each other. If most people live a virtuous life where equality, human rights and dignity are universally respected, this can be a world at peace, with prosperity shared equitably.
January 27 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day marking the world’s worst mass murder, the genocide of more than six million Jews. This happened all over Europe from 1933 to 1945 when the Nazi political party came to power in Germany led by Adolf Hitler.
The Holocaust was an almost indescribable implementation of a diabolical plan to erase from the earth the Jewish people and others whom the racist party under Hitler considered subhuman and destined to be eliminated by mass execution.
Evil is the total absence of good seen through the actions of people without conscience, without moral or spiritual values, without respect for the rights and dignity of other humans. They do not believe in what is morally right and wrong and consider themselves above the law and kill others with impunity.
As in the past, evil is with us every day. Good people of virtue must unite to defeat evil or it will defeat us. We learn this evil by observing the present and remembering the past. Today, in several countries, massacres and genocides are taking place. Innocent people are being shot and murdered by agents of the state with impunity and depraved viciousness.
He mistakenly believed that the German Aryan people were the supreme and purest people and that all others were called inferior degenerates who had to be exterminated.
Six million Jews and a million others belonging to other groups were abused, raped and exterminated in the most heinous way devised by ill-intentioned Nazis. Even today, small groups of neo-Nazi white supremacist gangs abuse race and commit acts of violence against immigrants and people of color in Europe and the United States.
Remembrance Day is organized to honor and uphold the dignity and memory of the millions of people who were brutally killed. Their human rights have been taken away from them. They were arrested, robbed, mistreated, imprisoned and driven like cattle to the slaughterhouse. They suffered greatly and died after being tortured or executed, and a million of them were gassed to death in overcrowded gas chambers.
The “Final Solution” was devised by Hitler to rid Europe of the Jewish people he hated. His fanatical racism knew no bounds. He mistakenly believed that the German Aryan people were the supreme and purest people and that all others were called inferior degenerates who had to be exterminated. Germany’s industrial might was harnessed by Hitler, who was elected to power by 44% of the vote and had a strong following. Yet millions of good Germans rejected him and opposed his rule.
The Nazis built 25 concentration and execution camps throughout occupied Europe and Germany for their evil purpose. Auschwitz is known as the most notorious. At least a million Jews were gassed, beaten or shot at this camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
In other camps, the killings continued. Between 870,000 and 925,000 people were killed in Treblinka in Poland; 170,000 died at Sobibor. At least 152,000 were murdered in Chelmno and around 434,500 were killed in Belzec. Almost all of them were in occupied Poland.
Dutch teenager Anne Frank was imprisoned in the Bergen-Belsen camp and died of illness just before liberation. His famous diary recounts his life in hiding and in the camp.
In Germany, a notorious Nazi camp was Buchenwald, about 25 kilometers from the famous cultural city of Weimar. He had prisoners from all over Europe. They were all considered degenerate, useless and used as slaves in arms factories before being executed.
There I saw huge heap photographs of some 200 emaciated corpses piled on top of each other like a human dump
After receiving the City of Weimar Human Rights Prize in 2000, I was taken to the Buchenwald camp and had the privilege of laying a wreath on a commemorative plaque that honors the 56,545 victims killed there by the Nazis. No less than 208,000 people were detained in this camp and in sub-camps.
I saw the tiny cell where important prisoners were held before being taken to the execution chamber in the corner of the camp. There I saw huge heap photographs of some 200 emaciated corpses piled on top of each other like human dumping.
In the execution chamber, the prisoner was forced to stand against the wall, and behind him was a hole in the wall through which he was shot in the back of the neck. There were hooks in the roof from which other prisoners were hung with wire around their necks until they were strangled to death.
A tall, rusty metal elevator carried the bodies up one floor to the ovens. In the crematory room, there were six ovens in a row. They threw the bodies onto a trolley and pushed them into the long oven. They locked the metal door and cremated the bodies of the murdered victims. The executions and murders lasted all day. Other prisoners had to do the cremation while the Nazi SS officer was the executioner.
This shocking and heartbreaking experience of my visit to Buchenwald remains etched in my memory. This camp and others today stand as historical evidence and a stark reminder that no matter how developed, cultured, educated and technologically advanced and prosperous a nation is, it can afford access to a racist and hate-filled politician. in power, to murder millions of people and to destroy the nation. After Hitler’s suicide and the end of World War II, Germany was devastated.
With all our strength, our moral and positive political influence, we must educate and inspire people to choose their leaders carefully. Good leaders are those with compassion, kindness, understanding, integrity, kindness, and a love of justice and truth. He is the leader who can lead a nation away from the culture of greed, selfishness, murder and death to its noble destiny where goodness and justice will prevail with wisdom and good governance.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.
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