Commemorating the Victims of the Holocaust: What You Do Matters

Some historical events will forever be stamped into our lives and our future. Such is the killing and prosecution of six million Jews, equalling around two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, by the Nazi regime and its allies, between 1941-1945 – known worldwide as the Holocaust.

For history not to repeat itself, we must strive not to forget. We must remember and support each and every endeavour aimed at spreading information and raising awareness regarding such horrible things done by the hands of man.

The 27th of January stands as an opportunity for all of us to remember the victims of the Holocaust. In this day, world marks the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Turning down any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, the United Nation (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus condemning without reserve and hesitation all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, regardless of where they occur.

Honouring this date, Youth Time discusses with Andy Hollinger, Director of Communications United States (US) Holocaust Memorial Museum, which teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide.

They offer various opportunities for people to learn more about the Holocaust, antisemitism, and genocide.

Hollinger shares the crucial importance of their work, opportunities that they offer for young people, as well as other issues we should bear in mind when discussing this extensive topic.


When Hatred Spreads Unchecked

Concentration camp Birkenau
Concentration camp Birkenau

In the beginning, he states that remembering the Holocaust and its lessons today is more critical than ever.

“Holocaust survivors are diminishing in number just as we are seeing a global surge in Holocaust denial and distortion as well as anti-Semitism.

“The Holocaust is history’s greatest example of what can happen when hatred and anti-Semitism are allowed to spread unchecked.”

He believes there are issues that should concern every segment of society.

“The Holocaust also teaches us that hatred may start with the Jews, but it does not end with them.”


What You Do Matters

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C

The Museum, whose motto is “What You Do Matters”, also creates opportunities for students via a learning site for students.

As per Hollinger’s opinion, young people have more power than they know. He further digs into youth’s role and interest in learning.

“The first step is to take the time to learn about this history and listen to the survivors, online, or in person if possible.

“When young people hear people questioning the truth of the Holocaust or saying that it was exaggerated, speak up with the truth.

“We hope young people will be inspired to speak up when they see any group of people being targeted for who they are.

“The rise in Holocaust distortion and denial and antisemitism worldwide shows that we have many challenges ahead of us.

“The Museum needs to reach people – especially young people – around the globe with this history and its important lessons.

“A reason for optimism is many young people express a desire to learn more about this history.

“We will invest to meet the challenge of reaching them wherever they are.”

In Hollinger’s words, the Museum’s Founding Chairman and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel said he wanted people to learn about this history so that his past would not become someone else’s future.


Read the Online Encyclopedia

In today’s world, we are accustomed to find most of the material provided in English language. Sometimes that is given.

However, the Museum offers some part of their online encyclopaedia in 19 languages. In this way offering a more inclusive platform for people who seek to learn more about the Holocaust.

“The Museum building may be temporarily closed, but our work has not stopped. We have dramatically increased our digital programming.

“Even before the pandemic the Museum’s online encyclopedia, parts of which are available in 19 languages, was the leading online learning platform for Holocaust history.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, they have transformed their popular monthly Facebook Live Series into a live weekly programme featuring Museum historians, curators, Holocaust survivors, educators, and guests with real-time audience engagement.

“The videos are available for on-demand viewing on the Museum’s Facebook page.”

Support the Campaign for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

We must never put aside the weight of peace, as a first necessary step toward achieving greater milestones.

Nevertheless, in dates like today we should give our extra efforts and attention in resolving differences peacefully.

For this, check out our previous piece International Day of Peace: Resolving Differences.

Photos: Shutterstock

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International Volunteer Day: A Kosovar’s Journey in Lisbon

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