Courage to Remember: The Consequence of Forgetting
Valencia College East Campus will be housing The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s “The Courage to Remember: the Holocaust 1933 – 1945” now through October 19. The showcase is free, open to the public, and features images and insight detailing the consequence of unharnessed hatred.
Less than 80 years ago, racial intolerance and human subjugation became epidemic and, though few were willing to burden, was accepted as conventional behavior… ignorance, fear, or apathy cannot be the savior to shrug the heavy weight off Atlas’s shoulders.
“At Auschwitz, I used Zyklon B, which was a crystallized prussic acid which we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber, depending on the climatic conditions. We knew the people were dead because their screaming stopped.”
Rudolf Hoss, Nuremberg, 1946
Self-reflected or not, bigotry and genocide need not hide… and hide it did not… nor does it today.
Before liberation, nearly 11 million individuals fell at the hands of racial revulsion and religious rationalization. Odd how, to this day, contempt remains shielded behind the transparent veil of denial… denial of yesterday, denial of today, and the ultimate destruction of tomorrow.
“Courage to Remember” uncovers denial by de-threading the deceit embroidering turn-aways. Still, the coziness of delusion resides much too deep today, 80 years beyond political and social numbness.
A gathering of local politicians of pseudo-stance spoke at the opening ceremony. Backed by notes warm and dogmatic, words without action left the bitter residue of what should have never become soured by the passive indifference of what today has become.
“So I believe that I act in the spirit of the Almighty God: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the lord.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1924
The horror of the Holocaust should never be forgotten; the teachings of the Holocaust should never lack determination. Unfortunately, non-internalized lessons infrequently breed change as confirmed daily… beyond borders as well as within the United States. Hate crimes, bullying, religious intolerance, and the refusal to welcome compassion fill the airwaves hourly, if not by the minute.
It would be open-deceit to say that there was a time in history where the inhumane treatment of others was not the way of the land… there has yet to be peaceful utopian time in history. Perhaps it has always been light invading darkness pushing through cracks fused by pain and communal indifference, and not the other way around?
“A time of brutality approaches of which we ourselves can have absolutely no conception.”
Joseph Goebbels, Die Zweite Revolution, 1926
Though the quote above was written 87 years ago, has today escaped yesterday’s circle? For those too uncomfortable or those finding themselves too busy for the inconvenience to go to the “Courage to Remember” exhibit, you’ve lost. In effect, your capacity to remember has been forgotten. Denying educational empowerment through enlightenment, even at the cost of convenience, defines who we are. Or, for those unwilling, defines who we are not.
One guest speaker at the opening ceremony stands out above all others, her words should be allowed a room of their own and a time for individual/social reflection.
State senator Ronda Storms, traveling a fair distance with her daughter, shared the following:
“Remember the courage to remember the acts of great courage. Those who have sacrificed to help, even at the risk of their own death.”
Though this will cause a shuffle but truth has a way of shaking paradigms: As a whole, we are not a culture of courage, we are a people of self-absorption dedicated to personal gain. With this out in the open, let’s go directly to what House of Representative Geraldine Thompson, who compared the Jews in the Holocaust to the enslavement of African Americans, had to say:
“More hate crimes are in Florida than any other state.”
Without hesitation, the following must be addressed: Within today’s sensate culture rewarding instant gratification fed through life-less tubes intoxicating self-fulfillment without worry of effect, can remembering the Holocaust truly alter humanities destructive path?
“Be honest, decent, faithful and congenial towards members of our own blood, but to no one else.”
Heinrich Himmler, October 4, 1943
Will hate ever expire? Realistically it will not.
Will hate ever be controlled? Never through intolerance, only through education will the courage to act recognize herself.
Will hate ever repeat? By way of inaction, lessons forgotten will allow global destruction. Not if, but when.
Seeking a fissure of light to penetrate the canopy of darkness, the consequence of forgetting deprives limitlessly.
“The sick, the aged, and babies in arms were crushed into barred cattle trucks… They had been aboard the train for two days and had only once received food. She (a Jewish passenger) said that some babies had suffocated in the crush and that the SS guards had even then forced in more people and bolted the door.”
Dutch witness, Eichmann: The Man and His Crimes
Hoping today is not just another day and, one starfish at a time, the world becomes a better place.
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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