“What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”
— Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel
Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld| Lansing State Journal | Published January 26, 2022
The events of the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jewry by Nazi Germany, must never be forgotten. The Holocaust happened because people either actively participated in acts of antisemitism, or stood by and did nothing to counter the hate.
To preserve the memory of the Holocaust, we observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27; this is the date on which the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated. As the United Nations notes: In conjunction with remembering, we must also reaffirm an unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence.
Today, more than seven decades removed from the Second World War, this day is especially important for several reasons: Few Holocaust survivors remain to bear witness to the horrific conditions suffered by Jews and many others sent to concentration camps; waves of antisemitism continue to plague our global society; and the lessons of the Holocaust may help us better understand the evil aspects of human behavior that we encounter all about us.