Holocaust Remembrance Day begins this evening, commemorating the closing of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp in Poland, the largest of many run by Nazi Germany which murdered 6 million men, women and children. It’s a somber day in Israel, where about 200,000 aging Holocaust survivors live, and about 20 percent of the young are polling as fearful of another one. Those over age 45, having seen more of life, don’t. But anti-semitic incidents are increasing across the U.S. and around the world. The old, irrational hatred lives on.
…began yesterday evening, and continues today until sundown. But any day is a good day to remember the murdered six million.
A remembrance that began in Israel in 1951 to memorialize the 1943 armed uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto, established by the Nazis—proof that not all were “led like sheep to slaughter”—but eventually came to commemorate all.
Today, in the open-air rotunda on the north side of the Texas Capitol, folks in the Austin Jewish community and others will be reading the names of those who were murdered in the Holocaust. Among the readers on this Holocaust Remembrance Day will be University of Texas members of The White Rose Society. Every April they distribute on campus ten thousand white roses to commemorate the approximate number of people the Nazis killed in just one day at their Auschwitz concentration camp alone.
The society takes its name from a non-violent student group at the University of Munich in 1942-43 which distributed anonymous leaflets calling for resistence against Hitler’s regime. Its six core members were captured by the Gestapo and beheaded. Allied bombers later dropped millions of copies of a society leaflet over the whole country. Holocaust Remembrance Day was begun in 1959 by the State of Israel.