Often, we repeat truths because we can't seem to grasp them or fully apprehend them. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. One of the most grotesque, cruel, barbaric events in history only occurred because anti-Semitism was allowed to fester and grow in European culture.
One of the architects of the "Final Solution" was Otto Adolf Eichmann. A German who grew up in Austria he became part of the Hitler youth in his early twenties. His home was stanchly Protestant and he played the violin and engaged in sports as a boy. He managed to escape immediately after the war in 1945 but was eventually caught and brought to justice and hung for his war crimes in 1962. A friend testified at his trial that he said he would "leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction."
A Polish Jew named Yehiel Di-Nur was brought in to testify at Eichmann's trial. He had spent 2 years at Auschwitz. Di-Nur made a brief statement at the trial and then collapsed. Later he told Mike Wallace on 60 minutes that what had undone him was not that Eichmann was such a horrible, evil man (which he was) but that he was so "normal." Yehiel said when he looked at Eichmann he realized there was a little of Eichmann in all of us. The Nazis did not start out as awful, murdering genocidal maniacs.
We can't afford to forget the lessons of the Holocaust. Anti-Semitism is a ferocious, corrosive evil that rots the very fabric of society. So is any other ethnic or group hatred. Thinking how you are going to destroy those who disagree with you, how you are going to silence them, how you are going to eradicate them, awakens the demons sleeping within.
So some lessons from the Holocaust to remember are to love Jews and love your enemies. Even if these two groups are the same group for you.
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