Universal lessons of the Holocaust | Irwin Cotler

Irwin Cotler on the universal lessons of the Holocaust:

The first lesson is the importance of zachor, of remembrance. For as we remember the six million Jewish victims of the Shoah – defamed, demonized and dehumanized, as prologue or justification for genocide – we have to understand that the mass murder of six million Jews, and millions of non-Jews, is not a matter of abstract statistics.

For unto each person there is a name, an identity; each person is a universe. As our sages tell us, “Whoever saves a single life, it is as if he or she has saved an entire universe.”

The second enduring lesson of the Holocaust is that the genocide of European Jewry succeeded not only because of the industry of death and the technology of terror, but because of the state-sanctioned ideology of hate. This teaching of contempt, this demonizing of the other, this is where it all begins…

The third lesson is that these Holocaust crimes resulted not only from state-sanctioned incitement to hatred and genocide, but from crimes of indifference, from conspiracies of silence – from the international community as bystander….

The fourth enduring lesson of the Holocaust is that it was made possible not only because of the “bureaucratization of genocide,” as Robert Lifton put it, but because of the trahison des clercs – the complicity of the elites – including physicians, church leaders, judges, lawyers, engineers, architects and educators….

The fifth lesson concerns the vulnerability of the powerless and the powerlessness of the vulnerable – as found expression in the triad of Nazi racial hygiene: the Sterilization Laws, the Nuremberg Race Laws, and the Euthanasia Program – all of which targeted those “whose lives were not worth living.”…

Sixth is the tribute that must be paid to the rescuers, the righteous among the nations, of whom Raoul Wallenberg is metaphor and message. Wallenberg, a Swedish non-Jew, saved more Jews in four months in Hungary in 1944 than any single government or organization.

Universal lessons of the Holocaust | JPost | Israel News.

And a link to Canadian Holocaust activities:

Recognizing International Holocaust Remembrance Day

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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