Holocaust Remembrance Day Is More Important Every Year

In a world with fewer and fewer living witnesses to Nazi evil, memory is all we have.

A girl writes on a memory board as she sits on railroad tracks inside the former Nazi death camp of Birkenau (Auschwitz II) in southern Poland.

A girl writes on a memory board as she sits on railroad tracks inside the former Nazi death camp of Birkenau (Auschwitz II) in Oswiecim-Brzezinka, southern Poland, April 19, 2012. Thousands of mainly Jewish people participated in the 21st annual "March of the Living," a Holocaust commemoration. (Photo: Peter Andrews/Reuters)

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Every year at International Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19 for 2012), the population of firsthand witnesses to the Nazi horrors is ever more rare and precious. Within one more generation, few if any Holocaust survivors will remain to testify to the hugest crime in modern history.

“The systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews,” to quote the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is a truth to stagger the imagination. The world needs to be forever aware that this unfathomable expression of evil was indeed reality.

To ensure that living proof of the Nazi death camps is preserved for schoolchildren of the future, the USC Shoah Foundation has compiled a video library of 51,686 testimonials from human beings who lived through Adolf Hitler’s cold-blooded, engineered atrocities.

As the Holocaust Memorial Museum points out, it should further not be forgotten that the Nazis killed uncounted Roma (Gypsies), disabled people, homosexuals, Poles, Communists, Socialists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Along with the souls of the millions killed, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to remember that the Nazi’s orgy of death started small—with cynical little exploitations of ignorance, intolerance and fear.

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