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The 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. 1.5 million children 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 times."


The Holocaust is a history of enduring horror and sorrow. It seems as though there is no spark of human concern, no act of humanity, to lighten that dark history. Read the story of Rivka Yosselevska, the story of the children of Bullenhuser Damm or the story the children of Izieu.

 

 


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 mention Men Of Courage, Father Kolbe, Wilm Hosenfeld and the story of Albert Goering, the younger brother of the notorious Nazi Hermann Goering.


Albert Goering

 

Albert Goering loathed 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 crimes.

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 Jewish workers.

To 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 Genocide ..

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 4,000 left.

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 chambers.
Schindler 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 Schindler-Jews.

You find the stories of Irena Sendler, who defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto .. Maria von Maltzan, who risked everything to defy Hitler and the Nazi Régime .. Miep Gies, who risked her life daily to hide Anne Frank and her family .. the Rescue of the Danish Jews, Varian Fry, the American Schindler,  Kurt Gerstein SS Officer, the site Courage and Survival ..


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:

"For 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.

- Louis Bülow

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Louis Bülow - Privacy  ©2012-14
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