Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bearing Witness: Why it is important to remember

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness...” Elie Weisel

Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance day is today April 19, 2012. Why is it important to remember such horrors as the Nazi Holocaust?

Iris Chang wrote in her book The Rape of Nanking: the Forgotten Holocaust of WWII which exposes and documents the war crimes by Imperial Japan in China in 1937 and the importance of remembrance wrote: “As the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel warned years ago, to forget a holocaust is to kill twice.”

YomHaShoah is Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its co-conspirators, and to remember the Jewish resistance and other heroes from that period of history. In Israel, it is a national memorial day that was first celebrated in 1953. Today is the day that it is observed in the United States.

Estelle Laughlin, a Holocaust Survivor, in the above video offers an answer that explains the importance of remembering: "Memory is what shapes us. Memory is what teaches us. We must understand that’s where our redemption is."

Philosopher, poet and literary critic George Santayana offers a warning for those who would like to forget: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

If you are visiting Washington D.C. you must pay a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

This blog entry closes with the full quote that was at the top of the page. Please reflect on it today.

"For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. For not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories." - Elie Wiesel (A Holocaust Survivor)

No comments:

Post a Comment