Wednesday, April 18, 2012
6 million is a number so large that it's unfathomable. I was analyzing timelines earlier this evening, milestones from the Holocaust, numbers of dead transposed over corresponding dates on the calendar. Thousands shot in a field. Tens of thousands gassed in the backs of trucks. Hundreds of thousands marched through gas chambers, then burned to ash, as if they had never existed. Because they were Jews.
The numbers continue to boggle, as does the inhumanity. The years haven't erased the monstrosity. Nor have they answered our questions. Or the one question that stands above all.
I'm guessing if we knew the answer, we wouldn't have to continually remind ourselves, "Never again." Because if we truly believed it couldn't ever happen again, we wouldn't feel the need to be as vigilant as we are, wouldn't feel the need to teach our kids at a too-young age to watch out for those who would single them out because they're different, who would hurt them. Or worse.
Sadly, it has happened since, and it'll happen again. Because we never learn. Because simply saying "never again" is no longer enough. Because the ingredients are all around us, masquerading in forms that may not be wrapped in swastikas and Zyklon B, but whose ultimate aim - removal of others from the face of the earth - is no less insidious. Or real.
Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, starts tonight. Today and every day, I simply can't forget.