haunting words of George Santayana reminds us that the lessons of history
are invaluable in determining the course of the future: "Those who
forget the past are condemned to repeat it."
The Holocaust was the
systematic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazis during
World War 2.
In 1933 nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of
Europe that would be military occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out
of every three European Jews had been killed.
were murdered. This figure includes more than 1.2 million Jewish children,
tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of handicapped children.
The Holocaust survivor Abel Herzberg has said: "There
were not six million Jews murdered; there was one murder, six million
You find gripping and horrifying stories of Adolf
Hitler and his most
ruthless henchmen - men often seen as the very personifications of
evil, like Rudolf
Hoess, the SS Commandant of Auschwitz, the Nazi butcher Amon
Goeth at Plaszow and Josef
Mengele, The Angel Of Death. You may read about Hitler's
wife, Eva Braun, or Admiral
Wilhelm Canaris, Chief of the German Military Intelligence who was a
dedicated anti-Nazi and held Hitler in utter contempt. He tried to put a
stop to the crimes of war and genocide committed by the Nazis.
Yet there were acts of courage and kindness during the Holocaust - stories
to bear witness to goodness, love and compassion. Let me
Of Courage, Father
Hosenfeld and the story of Albert
Goering, the younger brother of the
notorious Nazi Hermann Goering.
Albert Goeringloathed all of Nazism's inhumanity and at the risk of his
career, fortune and life, used his name and connections to save hundreds of Jews and and political dissidents during the Second World
War. After the war Albert Goering - savior of victims of the tyranny his brother helped create - was imprisoned for several years for his name
alone. But his story is almost unknown: he was shoved into obscurity by the enormity of his brother's
Now Albert Goering, who died in 1966, is being considered for an honour given to those who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. A file is being prepared at Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and
Heroes' Remembrance Authority, the Holocaust memorial and research centre in Israel, to put Albert Goering forward for the Righteous Among the Nations
award. A campaign to honour him follows growing recognition of his efforts to save victims of the Nazis.
The parallel with Oscar
Schindler is inevitable - Oscar
Schindler, who continually risked his life to protect and save his
more than 1200 Jews Schindler was all that stood between them and death at
the hands of the Nazis. But he remained true to his Jews, the workers he
referred to as my children. In the shadow of Auschwitz he kept the
SS out and everyone alive - his Jews miraculously survived the Nazi
Today there are more than 7,000 descendants of Schindler's Jews living in
US and Europe, many in Israel. Before the Second World War, the Jewish
population of Poland was 3.5 million. Today there are between 3,000 and
Oscar Schindler's name is known to millions as a household word for courage in a
world of brutality - a hero who saved hundreds of Jews from Hitler's gas
died in Hildesheim in Germany October 9, 1974. He
wanted to be buried in Jerusalem. As he said: My children are here ..
His wife Emilie
Schindler was an inspiring evidence of human nobility. She was not
only a strong woman working alongside her husband but a heroine in her own
right. This remarkable woman worked indefatigably to save the
And you find the story of an incredible man and his amazing gift to
mankind - the English stockbroker, Sir
Nicholas Winton. On holiday in Prague, he recognized the
advancing danger and courageously rescued 669 Czech children from their
doomed fate in the Nazi death camps - but his achievement went
unrecognized for over half a century.
The words of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate and Holocaust
survivor, stand as a testament to why we must never forget this dark
period of human history:
the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear
witness for the dead and the living. He has no right to deprive
future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To
forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would
be akin to killing them a second time. The witness has forced himself to
testify. For the youth of today, for the children who will be born
tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future." Elie
Wiesel, Night, Preface to the New Translation (New York: Hill and
Wang, c2006), page xv.