HT Editorial| Why we must never forget the Holocaust

Hindustan Times | By
Jan 26, 2020 07:54 PM IST

Only by remembering it can we prevent such a thing from ever happening again

It was 75 years ago on January 27, 1945, that the 60th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front walked into the concentration camp known as Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland to let the inmates know that they were now free. While the liberation of the inmates and the closing of the concentration camps may have been the end of the Holocaust, it was only the beginning of the effort to ensure that this should never happen again.

The railway entrance to Nazi death camp, Auschwitz(AFP)
The railway entrance to Nazi death camp, Auschwitz(AFP)

On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz — a day the United Nations marks as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — the history of Nazi Germany and the memory of those who did not survive the camps bears remembering. Estimates suggest that up to six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany. And of more than 1.3 million people imprisoned at Auschwitz, some 1.1 million died. The State-sponsored genocide of the Jewish people was part of the Nazi plan to institute a homogenous society, intended to be racially pure, and based on pseudo-scientific claims such as racial superiority, racial hygiene and eugenics. This form of authoritarian ultra-nationalism aimed to unite all Germans living in historically German territory. The aim was to return Germany to some mythic greatness that had existed in the past. In an attempt to remove the entire Jewish population on account of their supposed “inferiority”, the Final Solution was invoked.

Survivors and scholars of the Holocaust maintain that while the sheer brutality and the scale of events are hard to relive; it is the only way to pay tribute to those who lost so much more than just their lives. And only by remembering what happened and how it was allowed to happen can we prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

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