The world observed International Holocaust Day this past Sunday, even in a climate of rising anti-Semitism and growing Holocaust denial. Some of the former death camp prisoners visited the Auschwitz Museum to honor the lives unjustly taken – reminding us all that we must never forget.
Former Auschwitz prisoners placed flowers early Sunday at an execution wall at Auschwitz, paying homage before the arrival of the nationalists at the same spot. They wore striped scarves that recalled their uniforms, some with the red letter “P,” the symbol the Germans used to mark them as Poles.
Early in World War II, most prisoners were Poles, rounded up by the occupying German forces. Later, Auschwitz was transformed into a mass killing site for Jews, Roma and others, operating until the liberation by Soviet forces on Jan. 27, 1945.
In Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned in an op-ed in the weekly Welt am Sonntag that across Europe populists are propagating nationalism and “far-right provocateurs are trying to downplay the Holocaust.”
“We shall never forget. We shall never be indifferent. We must stand up for our liberal democracy,” Maas wrote.
We pray the horrors of the Holocaust never be forgotten. May the sacrifice of the Jewish people never be overlooked. May the pain and agony of those dark days never be repeated.