January 28, 2021

January 27th – International Holocaust Remembrance Day
On this day, January 27, we commemorate the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the World War II. We remember the genocide that resulted in the deaths of six million people of Jewish heritage and eleven million others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. On January 27, 1945, the Allies liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau the largest Nazi concentration and death camp. In 2005, the United Nations established this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day and, in 2006, the first International Remembrance Day was held at the United Nations Headquarters.

In this dark page of modern history, the lives of millions of innocent people were forever changed. From 1933 to 1945, the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to dismantle democracy across Europe based on the chauvinistic belief that they were “racially superior,” and they targeted several groups they perceived as racially and biologically inferior. This absurd belief led to what history refers as the Final Solution to eliminate Jewish people; the Final Solution consisted of gassings, shootings, random acts of terror, disease, and starvation that accounted for the deaths of approximately six million people of Jewish heritage (about two thirds of the total number of Jewish people in Europe at the time). It made no difference if you were a man, a woman or a child - you did not fit the model of what the Nazi regime and its collaborators thought as the “national community”.

The term “national community” became popular during World War I as a way to face war and unite all people of Germany. It simply meant that all Germans, regardless of class, religious and social differences, would work together to achieve a national purpose—winning the war. However, the Nazi regime interpreted the meaning otherwise, with the ill intention to advance the idea of a racially pure and harmonious national community united and devoted to the German people, their nation, and their leader.

In 1945, when the Allies entered the concentration camps, they discovered piles of corpses, bones, and human ashes that confirmed the Nazi regime’s atrocities and mass murders. They also found thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish survivors suffering from starvation and disease. The Nazi regime and its collaborators had also targeted other groups, including Roma and Sinti, people of Polish heritage, Soviet prisoners of war, Germans with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Germans with diverse sexual orientation and people that Nazis defined as “a-socials” at the time, including the homeless, recipients of welfare, people suffering from addictions, etc. These people were now free but scarred in their bodies and souls. They had faced the fear and terror of death that would mark their psyche forever. For these survivors and for those who lost their lives, Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, political activist, author and professor said, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness”. It is essential that we must continue telling the stories of those who suffered humiliation, pain, torture and death.
       
Today, many organizations around the world are striving to raise awareness and share the stories of survivors and to provide resources and support to those who faced the wrath of the Nazi regime and their collaborators. A list of museums and memorials in the United States is in the link below:



Please visit The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to find resources about the Holocaust and its impact on its victims.

Please see some upcoming online events below:
                                                                                                    
#DEIatCTI #holocaust #holocaustremembranceday #holocaustmemorial #holocaustsurvivors #holocaustmuseum

Please watch:
Surviving the Holocaust: Full Show – video length 59.31
Victim of Nazi twin experiments in Auschwitz | DW Documentary-video length 42.25
 

Suggested Readings:
  • Echoes from Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The story of Eva and Miriam Mozes by Eva Mozes Kor , Mary Wright
  • The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, Stuart J. Woolf (Translator), Philip Roth (Afterword)