Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day for the Jews, called Yom Hashoah. The U.S. had a day of remembrance a couple of months ago, but that day came and went without much comment. Coincidentally, today happens to be a day when a mass grave of Jews found in Poland was announced in 1943. This mass grave, of course, was of Jews murdered during the Holocaust. But apparently this history has been forgotten over the past few decades. According to a new survey,
41 percent of Americans don’t know what Auschwitz was, including two-thirds of Millennials. Approximately 22 percent of Millennials had not heard of the Holocaust, and 41 percent thought 2 million or fewer Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
This is troubling, but not surprising. It is no wonder considering most young people do not know what Nazism, Communism, or Socialism is. After all, they wanted to elect a self-proclaimed socialist! No decent or well-read person would dream of doing such a thing. But young people do not know how many died in the Oktober Revolution, WWI and WWII, or during the Holodomor, nor do they know how these events came to fruition. Many young people do not know the recent events in our history that changed the world, for good or ill, nor why those things happened. They do not know the past.
What is worse, they do not care.
The fact that they do not know and do not care to know is the most troubling of these facts. Many people do not know the past and they do not wish to learn about it. Last night I watched a film called Hotel Rwanda. It was the first time I had seen the film and the first time I thought to look deeper into the history of that genocide. To be quite honest, I had never even heard, to memory, of the Tutsi and the Hutu before four years ago. But I sought to overcome that deficiency and looked up information on it. I am glad I did too, because it better helps me understand what is going on in South Africa at present.
I do not want to be ignorant of my personal history. I do not want to be ignorant of my country’s history. I do not want to be ignorant of world history. How can I hope to be a cause for change, a means of good, a word of instruction if I am in ignorance?
There is a quote that is hopefully well-known and cannot be over-emphasized:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
This is rather true, and I fear I see that across the globe today. People cannot remember the past. Thus, people who do not know about 1400’s Spain do not see a problem with mass migrations of young, male immigrants flooding Europe. People who do not know anything about the Fall of Rome, the Visigoths, and WWII do not pay attention to what Germany is doing with its military. People who do not know about who Marx, Malthus, Lenin, and Stalin were also don’t stand aghast at the fact we almost elected a self-professed communist as President. People who do not know about the English, French, and American revolutions are not afraid when the powerful subjugate citizens by weakening the Constitution. People who do not know about the Holocaust, the Holodomor, or what Eugenics is do not see the problem with abortion and physician assisted suicide.
People do not know history, so they do not know the folly of their ideas. Instead, they are work to destroy what they don’t understand. They wish to do what has been tried – and failed with unimaginable bloodshed. This is to our shame.
The following is a clip from the Band of Brothers. This scene is on the liberation of a concentration camp. This short clip is sickening, and yet it is only a fraction of the atrocities committed against people, a fraction of the over six million people who were murdered in these camps. We can only imagine what these people went through and what these soldiers experienced when they found them.
I have not investigated the numbers, but it is frightening to me that there is even a possibility of two-fifths of Americans who do not know what Auschwitz was. How has our country forgotten the horrors? How have we forgotten the atrocities committed across the world? How do we think we can solve the problems in our own country when we do not even know how and why we got here? How can we hope to stop evil in its path when we do not even recognize it?
How can we say “never again” if we do not remember what should never happen again?
How can we recognize the present if we forgot the past? How can we stop future atrocities if we do not remember past ones, refusing to learn and recognize them? Will we recognize when our freedoms, our rights, our persons are being stripped of our ownership when they are being stripped away? Or will we, in our ignorance, stand by and say, “Let’s do it again!” while we feast and watch the circuses? As I watch the world, I mourn as I see us repeat history once more.
Blessings to you and yours,
For more information on atrocities that should never be forgotten, go to this series called The Revolutionary Holocaust. Do not be distracted by the narrator. Listen to the stories, investigate the facts, know what evil should be prevented.