This was the Holocaust memorial service at the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) yesterday, in honour of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is today in Sweden. The members of Parliament are generally not in Stockholm on Mondays or Fridays so this is probably why they honoured it yesterday (Thursday).
My mother was German (born 1930) and she always told me that we must never forget, because when we forget, we will go down that path again. As the pendulum is swinging back to the far right all over Europe, I hope enough people remember that this or anything like it will never happen again.
I hate it when people use the term Nazi (or apartheid for that matter) casually. Someone who is regimented or strict is called a Nazi, someone who is fond of correct grammar is called a Grammar Nazi. I guess most of the population of the world today was not alive during the second world war. And it is good that they don’t have to go through it. But they should know about it. That between 15 and 20 million people were systematically slaughtered. In about July 1942, 25 000 people a day were murdered. In just 2 weeks, 1.4 million people were murdered.
The death that affected me the most last year was that of Elie Wiesel. His book Night has stayed with me through the years and I have reread it several times.
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
Here he is in Buchenwald, second row from the bottom, seventh from left, against the post. I am half German and I honestly feel that we must never forget, because as soon as we do, something like this could happen again.
I am not sure if anyone saw that people are now posing for selfies all over the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
Israeli artist Shahak Shapira has created an art project, Yolocaust, to shame those who have taken disrespectful selfies at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. The Memorial offers tribute to the thousands of people who died during WWII, particularly in concentration camps around Europe. Read more here.
To be honest, I think that at long as people are still visiting the Memorial and are not drawing graffiti all over it and having loud raucous parties there, there is probably no reason to go this far to shame them. But there should be respect for the Holocaust Memorial, just as there is respect for the 9/11 memorial in New York City, where people do not take selfies like this. The fact that the Holocaust is not fresh in younger people’s minds like 9/11 is, should not make any difference to the respect they show for all the innocent people who died in both atrocities.