On Holocaust Remembrance Day

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, what should we remember? We should remember the victims, the perpetrators, the survivors, those who risked their lives to save those who were targeted, the places where the crimes occurred, what we should have known, what we learned, what was done, what was not done, what could have been done and what needs to be done to continue to remember, to avoid a recurrence.

The Holocaust was unprecedented, unique and still part of human experience. The Holocaust taught us lessons about who we are that we can not forget.

The Holocaust was unique because never before or since has there been a nation like Germany at the pinnacle of cultural and technological success which sought to invade and conquer the whole planet in order to murder every single person of an identifiable group, the Jews, built on a fantasy about the group that had nothing to do with their real characteristics. There was virtually no corner of the globe untouched by this mad effort whether as invaders or invaded, propagandizers or propagandized, discriminators or discriminated against, rescuers or rescued, those who offered refuge to fleeing victims or those who denied it, those who provided perpetrators a hiding place or those who refused it, those who gave perpetrators immunity or those who tried to bring perpetrators to justice. The Holocaust dragged the whole world down and gave glimpses how the tragedy could have been avoided.

The Holocaust presented humanity at both its best and its worst. The worst gave us an understanding that the pit of depravity into which humanity can sink is bottomless. With the Holocaust, we came to appreciate how self-destructive humanity can be. Learning the lessons of the Holocaust has become a matter of life and death for the whole human family. If we refrain from acting on those lessons, we risk obliteration.

Yet, the lessons we should be learning from the Holocaust are still only imperfectly appreciated. Refugees needing protection are still denied a haven. Incitement to hatred based on fantasy stereotypes are still widespread. Mass murderers still achieve impunity. All too many remain indifferent to mass atrocities committed in foreign countries far away.

To take one example, and one could give several, consider the mass killing in China of Falun Gong for their organs. In China, as in Germany, we have advanced technology for mass murder. In Nazi Germany, it was the radio to incite hatred, the tanks to invade, the machine guns for the roving killing squads, the trains to ship Jews to death camps, and the poison gas. In China, we see the abuse of organ transplantation technology, a technology which did not even exist at the time of the Holocaust.

The massive, widespread murder of innocents for their organs within China has been established, by several independent investigations, beyond any reasonable doubt. Yet, who is bringing the perpetrators to justice? The answer is no one. Who is providing refuge to those in flight? The answer is not enough. Who is protesting this victimization? The answer is far too few. What is being done to stop the incitement to hatred by the Chinese Communist Party against Falun Gong? The answer is almost nothing.

Holocaust remembrance should be a Holocaust reminder. The Holocaust is not history; it is not past. It is with us everywhere today because of the lessons learned and unlearned. Modern atrocities remind us that the forces which generated the Holocaust are endemic to humanity; they continue to wreak havoc. We ignore them at our peril.

David Matas,

January 26th, 2022.




International human rights lawyer, author and researcher nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Based in Winnipeg, Canada. https://endtransplantabuse.org

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David Matas

David Matas

International human rights lawyer, author and researcher nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Based in Winnipeg, Canada. https://endtransplantabuse.org

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