The grainy black and white images of 75 years ago can trick the mind that the cruelty of mankind was from a different time.
When Holocaust educators make movies like Schindler’s List, they beautify the tragedy with haunting music and visuals.
When we light a candle in memory of one of the 6 million Jews who were slaughtered because they were Jews, our attention lasts for the length of the flame. We toss the candle into the garbage once its light has burned out.
When we enter a synagogue and look at a sculpture with the words “Yizkor,” meaning “remember” in Hebrew, we appreciate the effort to make the work of art, more than connecting to the horror.
Sculpture at the Mathausen Concentration Camp
But the Holocaust was not edited nor pretty nor momentary. It was raw and brutal. It lasted for years.
And the evil lasts still.
The hatred for Jews brews in the shouts of the alt-right, the “protests” of the alt-left and the killings by Islamic radicals.
The Jew hatred is blessed in the halls of a United Nations which cannot pause to question passing laws making it illegal for Jews to live in certain areas. No, not certain areas, illegal for them to live in their holiest city.
The Holocaust inches closer when anti-Semites are elected to governmental positions, anti-Zionists take over college campuses and murderers burst into synagogues. To silent echoes.
Rabbi axed to death in a synagogue in Jerusalem, Israel by Palestinian Arabs
The Holocaust has been remembered in that it was put in the past. Recalling the genocide of a defenseless people by their own government and fellow citizens was given a short window of time among the few who deliberately chose to remember the reality that evil left unchecked overwhelms a decent society.
The marches of the alt-right are becoming more frequent. The vitriol on college campuses is now at your child’s school. And the excuses made for murders has even penetrated the Jewish community.
Gil Scott-Heron wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” in 1970, a decade which saw the United Nations headed by Kurt Waldheim, a former Nazi; a decade in which the U.N. manufactured laws that “Zionism is Racism” and only Palestinian Arabs have rights to the holy land; a decade which witnessed Palestinian terrorists murder Israeli athletes and hijack planes while the word only paused for a moment.
Gil Scott-Heron knew that enormous change in the social order did not happen with people sitting in front of a television, passively taking in a snippet of news interspersed with entertainment. A revolution happens when it knocks on everyone’s door and every man, woman and child is forced to take a stand on where they are in the fight for rights.
Jews around the world are slowly and reluctantly reaching that conclusion, that a momentary glance at a Holocaust sculpture does not prepare a person for the war against Jews today. The United Kingdom’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is as much of a wake-up as the leader of Iran. The hatred is much nearer in both time and space and you have no luxury of putting it behind you.
This Holocaust Remembrance Day, don’t throw out the candle of a child murdered 75 years ago after the candle is out. Bury it in your front yard.
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