The Holocaust began in 1933, virtually the instant Adolf Hitler was made the chancellor of Germany, but it was this day in 1938 that the Kristallnacht, “Night of Crystal” occurred. It was this night that essentially began the purging of the Jews from Germany and the rest of the Holocaust as we know it truly took shape. I know President Franklin D. Roosevelt said Dec. 7, 1941 is a day that will live on in infamy, and it will, but I believe it’s this day that holds a whole other level of infamy that in some ways needs to live on in infamy. If we don’t remember, how can we learn from it? How can we prevent it? It was on this day that Jewish people, along with many others, began to be grouped together, taken from homes and forced to concentration camps. Their lives would never be the same, if they even survived to tell the story. This is a day, along with all the days after until the day it ended, that shouldn’t ever be forgotten.
The Holocaust is a very ugly eyesore in the picture of history, for anyone, not just the Germans. The atrocities that occurred during that time is unbelievable. The numbers of people who were killed for the most ridiculous of reasons is mind boggling. Millions and millions of Jews killed simply for being Jewish. That doesn’t even include the huge numbers of people killed by the Nazis for being disabled; it doesn’t include the Romani people or prisoners of war, all killed for ridiculous reasons. Humanity was all but forgotten… no wait… it was totally forgotten.
Time continues to march on and the numbers of survivors are dwindling as age claims them. The images live on though. Google “Holocaust” and there’s a litany of incredibly disturbing images of what happened to these folks. I am happy to say that I’ll never understand the thinking it took to participate in such heinous, monstrous behavior. I worry that if I can understand it, I’d be prone to thinking like that. No thank you.
Today I’m thankful that the Internet has so many ways to help remember this fateful event. It’s important to look back on history so we can learn from it. It’s also important to remember the people and honor their stories. They had lives, they had hopes, wishes, dreams, all cut short. So many were children that never had a chance to grow up and see what life really had to offer… and for what?
I’m thankful for remembrance as it’s important. I just hope it’s actually remembered because the one thing that crosses my mind is that this isn’t the only time in history this type of behavior has happened. There are other instances since the Holocaust that extermination of a race, or the attempt to do so, has happened. Rwanda is the first to come to mind, but there are others also. I hope that the rest of us work to remember this and do what we can to prevent similar situations from happening again. So much of this begins with changing how we think, how we perceive other people. Right now, there’s so much dislike of immigrants (not just in this nation either but in European countries also, and worldwide) and hate is forming based on prejudiced opinions about anyone who migrates from another country. This needs to stop. People have the right to migrate to wherever they want – do they need to to do it legally, yes but that’s a different conversation. It’s important to be careful of how opinions are formed about people because it’s so easy to slip into hate based on race/ethnicity.