Yesterday marked 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz — and overnight, Europe held a number of services to remember the atrocities of the Holocaust. Today, one expert argues that simply telling ourselves the Holocaust will “never again” take place isn’t enough on its own.
We rarely ask ourselves why we should remember the Holocaust. We simply assume that we should. However, if we only go through the motions uttering phrases such as “we remember” and “never again”, remembering the Holocaust will quickly become a meaningless ritual.
Just saying that we don’t want something like the Holocaust to happen again has not really worked: the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia and Darfur are terrible reminders that we do not seem to be able, or willing, to learn from history.
But what is worse is that what made the Holocaust, and other genocides, possible is still virulent all around us: preconceptions and prejudice, and the rejection or the fear of someone just because he or she is different, is not “one of us”.