January 27 was recognized in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The U.N. resolution rejects Holocaust denials while pledging to fight discrimination. Today in history marks the liberation by allied forces of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Berkenau. It is estimated that the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witness, and other innocent civilians from all over Europe.
Through the works of courageous survivors and victims of the Nazi death camps the world knows the ugly face of such atrocities. It is hard to forget the force of the Diary of Anne Frank when I read it in high school or the impact of Primo Levi's book Survival At Auschwitz when I read it in college. From the movies, poems, and art that highlight the triumph of the human spirit in the face of such inhumanity we as people are able to grow through empathy our compassion and steadfast resolve to say never again.
And then there is Somalia...the Sudan...Kenya...Bosnia...East Timor...sadly the list of genocides could go on...
There are two quotes that I would like to leave you with here from the great American philosopher Jorge Augustin Nicolas Ruiz de Santayana:
All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with;
all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.