As many of you may or maynot know, today is the day of the liberation of Auschwitz.
I know this is still a very delicate and deep subject considering the people who lived through and survived Auschwitz still have the heartbreaking memories that will forever live with them, however today of all days we must confront what happened all those years ago and learn from our mistakes. Today should not just be a day of sadness and remorse for all those innocent people who lost their lives unjustifyingly, it should also be a day the world brought an end to the suffering of innocent people and finally allowed people to believe and feel want they desire.
I have only learnt briefly about these terrible events during my history lesson, from reading the Anne Frank book, visits with the school and from my nan and her brothers opinions, although at this time they were only young children. I asked her at the time what she thought about that situation and she said, when the news was unveiled for the very first time the world just stood horrified. My nan’s mother was very unwell at the time and as a naive 12 year old girl my nan would run errands to the shop with her 3 other brothers. When they got there they learnt the news that had already shook the world: She was stunned at the graphic pictures of ‘skeletons in pajamas clutching young children in their arms’, children that were the same age covered the newspaper. She then believed every german was evil. Her dad who had left to defend his country was a Sergeant in the British army and was one of the very first men who walked through the Auschwitz premises after it had been discovered by the Americans. When he return, she said, he never came back the same.
Millions of people suffered and died because they had their own beliefs and wanted different things. The troops that found the holocaust suffered due to the inhuman actions that had taken place there. Most people are not born cruel and evil, so we must not judge a nation on one person’s action. We have not left the horrors of the holocaust behind; we still have to contend with situations like this everyday, especially recently. You would think that we could have used this terrible experience to learn that we cannot force people to think the same as we do. Unfortunately we haven’t. While we are forever horrified by the events of the Holocaust and we know not to forget what happened, we also add, too quickly, “But that will never happen again.” It is too easy to consign the terror and cruelty of that time to the past and to other people, while at the same time dehumanizing some “other” in the world. When compassion reigns and dehumanization only belongs as a horror story in history books, only then can we say that the lessons have been learned.