Seth Udinski, FISM News
Today is a day of international remembrance and reflection on one of the most horrific atrocities ever committed in human history. In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly declared January 27 to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day with the hope of promoting Holocaust education throughout the world, preserving the historical record, and challenging distortion and rejecting all forms of Holocaust.
In response communities throughout the world today will reflect on the Holocaust, the historic event in which roughly 6 million ethnic Jews were murdered at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War.
When Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany in the early 1930s, he espoused the supreme dominance of the German race above all others. He had an especially sinister hatred for the Jewish people. Throughout his reign, he ordered the enslavement, subjugation, and execution of millions of Jews.
Throughout their history, the Jewish people have suffered greatly at the hands of more powerful nations. In the ancient world they were enslaved by the Egyptians before God led them to freedom under Moses. Even after they settled in their homeland in Israel, they were constantly attacked and harassed by enemies in the Near East.
After a brief Golden Age under King David and his son Solomon in the beginning of the tenth century BC, the people once again fell under subjugation. They were conquered and driven from their homeland by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC. They returned in the next few centuries but quickly fell under the control of the Roman Empire.
Even after Rome fell, the Jews were still a persecuted race. In medieval Europe they were often accused of being the “murderers of Christ,” resulting in killings and deportations. They were also continually threatened by powerful Islamic tribes in their homeland in the Middle East. None of these hardships, however, could compare with the Holocaust of World War II.
Pictures of starved Jews crowded into tight quarters give us a window into the suffering they endured in various camps such as Auschwitz and Flossenburg. Even today, there are some who try to downplay the gravity of this genocide, and others who would go so far as to claim that the Jews were somehow wrong in exercising their claim on their homeland in the years after the war. Jews were killed in gas chambers, beaten to death, worked to death, starved to death, and buried in mass graves.
January 27 is a day of both solemn remembrance and celebration. On this day in 1945, the Russian army liberated the thousands of Jews trapped in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. This liberation was an incredible victory not only for the Jewish people, but for the Allied cause. It was a clear sign that Hitler’s regime was on its deathbed, and sure enough, the Nazis surrendered to the Allies less than four months later.
Americans must never forget this horrific atrocity, even as we remember it now 80 years later. May we always keep this atrocity in solemn remembrance, as well as the courageous soldiers who liberated the prisoners of these horrible death camps. May God protect us from ever experiencing another Holocaust in history.