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Honoring those who helped end the Holocaust

This article was written by an IWP student and Chaplain with the U.S. Army Reserve.

This International Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us pause and reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and acknowledge, preserve, and honor all those who fell victim to its evil manifestation.

Let us begin by Acknowledging the Evil. The evil that brewed and manifested itself in Germany throughout the 1930s began with the overt persecution against Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, as well as the mentally and physically disabled, in what ultimately resulted in the systematic mass murder of these human beings on an unimaginable scale. According to historians at the Jewish Virtual Library, six million Jews, seven million Soviet civilians, as well as over one hundred thousand homosexuals and those with mental or physical disabilities, died at the hands of the Nazi regime – be it by gas chambers, human ovens, or mass shootings. Let us also Acknowledge and observe the political underpinnings of fascism and how it asserts the idea that people of certain nationalities, races, and religions are fundamentally superior to others; and the false notion that a hierarchy ought to be based on power, as opposed to competence. Not to mention fascism’s complete disregard for the individual and his or her inalienable rights. Let us acknowledge and rightfully denounce this ideology as the very antithesis of what it means to be an American.

Preserve…Let us preserve our faith – regardless of its respective specifications – for faith itself is that for which millions of souls perished for simply subscribing to. May we also preserve our ideals as Americans, as a civilization founded on those same Judeo-Christian values.

May we also take a moment to reflect on what it is the brave men and women from generations past fought for during the Second World War, which brought about the end of the Holocaust’s horrors.

These heroes left safe and peaceful shores in pursuit of bloody ones across the Atlantic and the Pacific.

They exchanged their farming tools for those of combat.

They left their families behind to help preserve as many as they could overseas.

These heroes fought in defense of those who could not fight for themselves, against an evil that human beings generationally hope to never see again; and yet, often regrettably do. And yet they still fought to preserve our very special and unique way of life here in the United States, and to grant life to a world that often seemed eager to rid itself of it.

Honor…And so how do we honor the millions of souls who suffered and perished during this incredibly dark time on earth? How do we honor both those who fell victim to evil as well as those who fell fighting against it? And how may we be worthy of all the sacrifices that have been prepaid for us by our nation’s heroes?

Well, perhaps we can honor them all…by continuing the fight!

Maybe we can be somewhat worthy of the abundance of blessings in our lives and the fact that many of us are the descendants of both victims and survivors, if we do as those who came before us did and fight the evil that dwells in our particular generation of existence.

Perhaps the very best thing that we can do to honor those who fell victim, as well as those who stood up to the world’s evil, and subsequently endured a horrific amount of pain and suffering for us, is for us is to do the same. For us to never give in to the pressures of the masses. To never cower to an adversary no matter how complex or intimidating. And to never forgo our beliefs and ideals as Americans.

Perhaps if we do this, we could honor all those who perished, accordingly, and help ensure that the same evils of the Holocaust never plague any of God’s creatures again.

May God bless all the souls lost to tyranny, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

~ The Only Child of a Living Holocaust and Concentration Camp Survivor
David Schlesinger