75th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz

On January 27th 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Wikimedia Commons

On January 27th 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Maya Zohar, Staff Writer

The Holocaust: one of the most horrific and hate-filled genocides in the world. Six million European Jews along with war prisoners, hippies, gays, and disabled people were sent to labor and concentration camps. The old and the young who were not able to do manual labor were put in gas chambers where they suffocated to death. Those who worked were then forced to take away the dead bodies of their friends and family and put them in the crematoriums where they burned. Auschwitz Birkenau was the largest concentration camp during the Holocaust. 1.3 million prisoners were sent to Auschwitz and 1.1 million were brutally killed. Inmates lived in inhuman conditions and worked for countless hours with little to no food to keep them going throughout the day. Finally, on January 27, 1945, the Soviets liberated Auschwitz and saved countless lives. 

Seventy-five years later, antisemitism is still a crucial issue around the world. Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, established the World Holocaust Forum in 2005. The World Holocaust Forum’s purpose is to fight against antisemitism and neo-nazism. On January 27, 2005, 30 world leaders met in Poland and held the ceremony, marking 60 years since Auschwitz was liberated.  This year, 49 world leaders gathered in Israel for the World Holocaust Forum, many of which gave meaningful speeches to promote the end of antisemitism.

Prince Charles, the eldest son of Elizabeth II, delivered a powerful speech during the ceremony. He expressed the true evils of the Holocaust and demanded change. For instance, when he said “a story of incomprehensible inhumanity, from which all humanity can and must learn” he reminds the people that we must never forget the holocaust and also eliminate any hatred that is still brewing against the Jewish people.   

Moreover, the president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, gave a heartfelt speech that moved countless people worldwide. He began his speech by reciting a blessing in Hebrew called “Shehechiyanu.” Steinmeier admitted that Germans still did not learn their lesson from the Holocaust since hatred against the Jews still plays a large factor that is continuing to grow. In his speech, Steinmeier addressed “there remains only one answer: Never again! Nie wieder! That is why there cannot be an end to remembrance.” Once again urging to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and begin to learn from their past mistakes. 

There are not many Holocaust survivors left in the world. It is crucial that their stories are not forgotten, that their legacy is carried on and invokes change in our society. Once they are gone it is up to the next generation to learn and not make the same mistakes that started the Holocaust in the first place. Just as George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”