Key Historical And Contemporary Lessons From The Holocaust

It is important to remember the historical conclusions from the Holocaust as well as bearing in mind the contemporary lessons we can use today to hopefully prevent such events happening again. These ideas were given to me in an information pack from the Holocaust Educational Trust:

 

HISTORICAL CONCLUSIONS:

 

1) Perpetrators were human beings – just like anyone else – who were products of the society they lived in.

 

2) Statistics are impersonal. Behind the 6 million (and probably more) that perished are individuals who lived life across Europe.

 

3) Every individual who perished was part of a community and when we speak of loss we also mean loss of culture, customs and ideas as well as people.

 

4) The Holocaust was a complex series of interrelated events that cannot be easily or simply explained.

 

5) We must recognise the role of the bystander – those who had an awareness of the unfolding events but did not or could not stop them. This includes not just individuals but also governments.

 

6) Auschwitz-Birkenau was the end part of a process that had begun many years before. For example, Nazi Germany began passing a series of anti-Jewish laws in 1933 (Nuremberg Laws).

 

7) By definition the term “perpetrators” consists of not only those who committed murder, but also those who played a part in the complex mechanism of genocide.

 

CONTEMPORARY LESSONS:

 

1) We should endeavour to challenge acts of prejudice or discrimination in both our communities and society at large, even when this may be unpopular or inconvenient.

 

2) We must promote tolerance of others by recognising the role played by all regardless of gender, race or creed.

 

3) We should welcome those who join our communities – whether they have moved from within the UK or come here from overseas.

 

4) The UK government plays a key role in global events and we, as citizens, can influence governmental policy.

 

5) We all have a responsibility to be involved in the democratic process of the UK – by exercising our right to vote at the age of 18.

 

6) It is crucial that we increase our awareness of the world we inhabit by challenging and critically evaluating the media.

 

7) Societies are made up of individuals. If we want to make the world a more humane place, we must start with our own everyday actions.

 

These were taken from a resource given to me by the Holocaust Educational Trust, of which I am an ambassador, and I feel these are hugely important to highlight as I think we have become naive about what happened in the Holocaust and take for granted that it will not happen again. This is not the case. In fact, anti-Semitic acts are on the increase and genocides have taken place since. Hopefully, reading this will make you think about your own actions and passing any messafes learned on to others.

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