As I’m sure you know, yesterday was the Holocaust Memorial Day. A day when the world, if even for a second, stopped and remembered the victims that were murdered 70 years ago. The reason I want to write this blog post is because of the simple reason -”we must never forget”.
This motto is used for the horrific events that happened 70 years ago, it reminds us that something like this should never happen again. But how can we stop it from happening again? You and I aren’t politicians or world leaders ( but if you are, that’s pretty cool… hi!) , what can we do ? It’s simple, we all have something in common, a voice.
It is up to us to never forget and to never stop talking about the Holocaust. Do what ever you can, tweet about it, write a blog post, make a YouTube video, write an article for your local college magazine, discuss the topic with your friends… anything!
So on my part I’m going to tell you about the time a Holocaust survivor visited my school. I was 13 years old (a day off my fourteen birthday) and Tomi Reichental came to give us a talk on the Holocaust, and his time in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He told a group of us ranging from 13- 18 years old, about how for years he never spoke about the ordeal until in recent times, as he realized that ”as one of the last witnesses, he must speak out.” I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for him to retell his story. It’s funny because during his talk I had to keep reminding myself that this was real. That he wasn’t just telling some far fetched story line from a movie. That this actually happened. That other humans did this to other humans.
Afterwards we were able to buy Tomi’s memoir titled ”I Was a Boy in Belsen” . I went home and I read the book. There was many parts of the book where I just had to stop reading, so I could just let the words sink in or I had to wipe away my tears. I think a part of his that really sticks with me is when Tomi describes, at nine years old seeing his grandmother pass away. To collect her body the SS gaurds came barging into their slums, and proceeded to brutally rip her clothes off and then bringing her outside to throw her into the mountain of dead bodies that were piled up in the courtyard. Tomi remembers how the dead bodies didn’t resemble humans but instead looked more like a jumble of dead animals. And it’s true because this is what the victims were treated like. Like animals.
Many can look at the slogan ”we must never forget” and see empty words. What’s saying this will never happen again? What’s saying another generation of people won’t go down the same destructive path? It’s true, we don’t know. But what we do know is that it’s up to us to try and stop it from happening again. So like I said before, tweet, blog, discuss, once we use our voice’s and never forget.
Here’s a list of books fiction/ non-fiction that discusses the Holocaust. They’re also books that though I found deeply saddening, were extremely enlightening and definitely worth a read.
1) I Was a Boy in Belsen- Tomi Reichental
2) The Book Thief- Markus Zusak
3) Anne Frank
4) The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult
I’d love to hear your views on this blog, you can leave them in the comments below 🙂