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Holocaust Remembrance Day

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Paddock
  • 341st Medical Group
Holocaust Days of Remembrance week will be observed from April 19-26, 2020 with the Holocaust Remembrance Day April 21, 2020 according to deomi.org website.

It is observed each year from the Sunday before the Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) through the following Sunday. It’s a part of history we need to remember so it doesn’t get repeated.

So what does Holocaust mean? “Holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned) was historically used to describe as a burned sacrifice. Since 1945, this word has taken on the form of a horror genre that we learn about in history class.

Not only were millions of European Jews murdered, but also gypsies, the intellectually disabled, dissidents and homosexuals by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.

To Adolf Hitler, the anti-Semitic Nazi leader, Jews were an inferior race, an alien threat to German racial purity and community.

Many people died during the Holocaust, especially after Hitler’s final solution of constructing killing centers in the concentration camps.

Approximately six million Jews and some five million others targeted for racial, political, ideological and behavioral reasons, died in the Holocaust and more than one million were children.

When thinking of the Holocaust, something that comes to mind would be the methods used to kill these innocent lives. Putting a large amount of people in a gas chamber to end their lives was not the only way.

Only Jews were gassed, thousands of others died of starvation, disease, and then experiments on Jewish prisoners. Josef Mengele who arrived in Auschwitz in 1942 earned the nickname “the Angel of Death” because of the experiments he was conducting.

The aftermath of this tragedy is a lasting impact now and for many more decades to follow. As though the wounds will never fully heal, we must never forget!

The few that did survive had a hard time. Many lost their families and were renounced by their non-Jewish neighbors. The late 1940s saw an unprecedented number of refugees, POWs and other displaced populations moving across Europe.

In an “effort to punish the villains, the Allies held the Nuremberg Trials of 1945-1946, which brought the Nazi atrocities to horrifying light, and the homeland for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust would lead to a mandate for the creation of Israel in 1948.”

No amount of money would be able to change this part of history, even though in early 1953, “the German government made payments to individual Jews and to the Jewish people as a way of acknowledging the German people’s responsibility for the crimes committed in their name.” (History.com, 2009).

“Today, we carry forward the proud legacy of the men and women of the Armed Forces who played an essential role in liberating the camps at Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau, Flossenburg, Dachau, and Mauthausen” (deomi.org, 2020).

With all the pain, hurt, embarrassment and regret, this observance is a time to remember the souls that were lost during the terror of the Holocaust and also the survivors that were able to tell their part of the story.

Anne Frank said it best: “If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example.”

Let’s stop the silence and remember who and what needs to be remembered, even in a time of tragedy.