Monday, January 27, 2020

Burying The Conscience of Mankind

The parents of one of my precious Aunts were survivors of Nazi concentration camps during WWII. My parents were privileged to host them in our home when I was a child. Although I never heard them utter one word about their experience, I remember being in awe of them when I was a child. I viewed them as heroes. 

I still recall how honored I was to sit at the table and spend the night in the home of my Aunt's Mother in New York City when I was 17 years old.

The fact that many in my generation and the generations younger than me are uneducated about the horror of the Holocaust is tragic. We should know. IF you do not know, you can know. The information is readily available. You must know.

Today is a good opportunity to become informed. January 27, marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the deadliest concentration camp perpetrated by the Nazi's. The Soviets liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland on January 27, 1945.

The German Nazis killed six million Jews during WWII in an era known as the Holocaust. Approximately 1.1 million of the Jews that were killed, met the end of their lives in the gas chambers in Auschwitz. 

Vladimir Munk was a young adult when he and his father were sent from a neighboring camp to Auschwitz. They had heard the camp was a terrible place, but they did not know about the gas chambers. He and his father were separated and sent different directions by the soldiers when they arrived.

He later asked a fellow prisoner if he knew where his father was. The prisoner pointed to the smoke escaping the chimney of the gas chambers. He told Munk his father had gone up the chimney.

"So that was it," says Munk. "You never died in Auschwitz. You went up the chimney."

Most of Vladimir Munk's family were killed at Auschwitz at the hands of Nazi Germany along with over one million others. Vladimir is 95 years old and is taking his first trip back to the "family cemetery" that  Auschwitz-Birkenau is to him. He will be there today.

There are at least 100 survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau that plan to be in attendance today for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation. Without a miracle, there will only be a handful of living witnesses to the Holocaust five years from now.

What happens when all the living witnesses are gone? Will we forget? God forbid! We must never forget! Yet, every current study shows forgetting is exactly what is happening. History is being forgotten at best and purposely distorted at the worst.

A recent survey by the Claims Conference showed that 45% of Americans and 49% of young adults in America could not name even one of the 40,000 camps and ghettos during the Holocaust.

Also, 30% of Americans and 41% of young Americans believe that substantially less than six million Jews were killed by the Germans.

The lack of knowledge of Americans about the Holocaust is not hard for me to believe. My wife and I began public school less than 30 years after the end of WWII and we finished school in 1985, 40 years after the end of the war.

Neither of us can remember one lesson taught in school concerning the Holocaust. Not one lesson! How could they ignore one of the most important facts in recent human history? Yet they did ignore it. We gained our knowledge from our parents, sermons, books and encyclopedias.

If we were not taught in school so many years ago, how in the world can kids learn the truth now? So much school time is dedicated to the environment, alternate lifestyles and being good global citizens, there is no time to teach history that is unpleasant to talk about or hear about.

In addition to the lack of teaching facts of the Holocaust, there is an active push in some circles to eliminate any memory of the Holocaust. From the day the atrocities were discovered and the camps were liberated there has been a concerted effort to deny, deny, deny! The Jews and the Allies have been accused of making it all up or exaggerating the numbers to further their cause.

Is it any wonder that 75 years later, the world is so ignorant of one of the darkest marks on human history? Is it any wonder that hatred for the Jews is rising all over Europe and even in the USA?

The Nazis knew the world outside of the concentration camps would never believe that such evil was possible. One survivor, chemist and author, Primo Levi told about a statement from an SS guard as Simon Wiesenthal arrived as a prisoner in Auschwitz in 1944.

“However this war may end, we have won the war against you; none of you will be left to bear witness, but even if someone were to survive, the world will not believe him.”

Unfortunately, the Nazis were correct in their evaluation of the quality of our collective memory. It is difficult to believe that humans could have been so cruel to other humans and 75 years of denial and downplaying have softened the horrific facts in so many minds.

On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we must not forget. We must actively work to remember. Read up on real history. Discuss the Holocaust with your children when you feel like they are old enough to handle it. Preachers, talk about it in the pulpit. I did last night and I probably will again tonight.

History will repeat itself if we do not reveal what hatred is capable of doing among us. There are groups of Americans that would love to eliminate whole groups of other Americans. They hate others because of their color, their birthplace, their religion, their ethics, their values and even their political beliefs.

We as Americans are falling into the same trap and chasing the Nazis down into the same cesspool. It can not happen you say? It can happen. It did happen.

Sonia Klein is 94 years old. She was a teenager when she was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. She insists that young people must learn the facts about what happened. She said, “Young people are the ones that have to carry the memory of our loved ones forever,”

You and I can help educate our little corner of the world. Read it. Believe it. Tell it. Our collective memory must live longer than those precious souls that saw it for themselves. If not, we are doomed to repeat it. Indifference and hate will always destroy.

At the 70 anniversary celebration of the liberation, Roman Kent, an Auschwitz survivor said, "We survivors can not, dare not to forget the millions who were murdered. For if we were to forget, the conscience of mankind would be buried alongside the victims."

Wow! That is heavy.

Thank you for reading today.



  1. WOW !~! a very good piece of true History, Davy You're definitely a writer for GOD, keep it up & don't dare change a thing about Yourself especially Your Love for GOD !~!

    Frankie Shiflett

    1. Thank you for your kind words, my friend. I appreciate you reading and taking time to comment.



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