Remembering the Lessons of the Holocaust


Triumph of Evil - Edmund Burke

There are some horrible miserable people in this world. Last week I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC – enough said right.

There is nothing like walking through the exhibits, looking at the pictures and hearing the stories to bring home the lessons of the Holocaust.

When I was in college I did a report on a movement called Holocaust Revisionism. There are people who for various reasons don’t believe the Holocaust happened – crazy huh.

I’m not sure what motivates revisionist, but based on my research at the time most of it seemed to stem from Anti-semitism. Keep in mind this was back in 1999 when the internet was just getting going. I didn’t even want to think about what is on the internet now – nor was I willing to do a search to find out.

I am amazed at the ignorance and blindness people exhibit towards the events of the holocaust.

For some reason it is easy for people to turn the other direction and ignore what happened around them. One of the exhibits that impacted me the most was called “Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust”.

This exhibit focuses exclusively on the reaction of ordinary people towards their Jewish neighbors. Some stepped up to the plate and helped, often at the expense of their own lives and freedoms. Other’s turned away because of jealousy, fear and greed.

As I was walking through the exhibit I couldn’t help but wonder what type of person I would have been.

Would I have stood by and watched as my neighbors were taken away because I wasn’t strong enough to stand up. I like to think I’m a strong person, but can’t help but look at the little ways I don’t stand up for my beliefs.

If I don’t always stand up for the little things, then how will I be strong enough to stand up for the big stuff.

The sad thing is I know that stuff like this is still happening. I read about horrific events in the news every day, but I tend to block it out. It isn’t happening in my neighborhood, so it gets pushed to the side.

I know that my options for helping people across the world are fairly limited, but what I can do is be a better neighbor right now.

The great Irish orator and writer Edmund Burke is credited with saying: “The only think necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” After walking through the Holocaust Museum I was reminded that truer words have never been spoken.

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