Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year and is a time to remember especially the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust under Nazi Persecution. It is a time to seek to learn the lessons of the past and recognise that genocide does not just take place in isolation. It’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism, and hatred are not checked and prevented. In total, six million Jewish men, women, and children were murdered by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators. More than one million people were murdered in the former Nazi extermination of Auschwitz alone.
Angela Orosz, 75, from Montreal was born in the camp. Her mother gave birth to her in secret on a top bunk in December 1944. She said, “I always claimed to my kids that I had suffered no trauma from having been here, until my daughter asked me why then, unlike other families, did I never throw potato peelings away? Because my mother had probably survived because of the peelings she had eaten and the goodness in them had enabled her to give birth to me and so I had survived. So, of course, the survival instinct I inherited from her made me always do the same.”
David Lenga, who became a successful tailor in Beverly Hills, said he refused to let the Holocaust define his life even though it claimed 98 members of his family. Only David and his father survived. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who is Jewish and lost members of his family in the Holocaust, said the world should learn about humanity from the survivors whose stories of endurance and forgiveness are exemplary. “You are truly amazing. You are strong and incredibly courageous. So, you are an example that we should follow. The Holocaust is called the dark period in the history of humanity, and you are the rays of sunshine that penetrate that darkness.”
The Holocaust is an example of the terrifying capacity for evil in the human heart. Political and military leaders planned the wicked extermination of millions of Jewish people and ordinary citizens carried it out. There are great mysteries in life, but there is no doubt that no one escapes God’s righteous judgement. God’s promises also offer survivors comfort in their devastating pain and loss. The prophet Isaiah said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”