Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day: in­ad­e­quate and mis­lead­ing re­sponses

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

Last Fri­day, Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day, was com­mem­o­rated in the Town Hall by Bournemouth’s Mayor and Coun­cil­lors, to­gether with sur­vivors, our Or­tho­dox and Re­form rab­bis, many mem­bers of the non-Jewish com­mu­nity and very few mem­bers of the Jewish com­mu­nity. Where was our miss­ing com­mu­nity? How sad that we could count only about a dozen. Surely more could have spared an hour or so.

Three lo­cal school­girls paid a beau­ti­ful trib­ute to sur­vivor, Wal­ter Kam­mer­ling who, at his great age, still vis­its schools to tell and in­form. Other peo­ple spoke mov­ingly of their ex­pe­ri­ences. Our rab­bis said Kad­dish.

We then crossed the road to the Auschwitz Me­mo­rial in Bournemouth Gar­dens, where a can­dle was lit. The weather was fine. Where were they all? What a dis­grace. We felt ashamed. Leon and Rhona Tay­lor, Bournemouth, BH2

I went to a lo­cal Holo­caust Day me­mo­rial event where the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in Bos­nia, Rwanda, Dar­fur and Cam­bo­dia were also re­mem­bered. There were sev­eral mov­ing tes­ti­monies from young Ser­bian and Cam­bo­dian sur­vivors but the Holo­caust was por­trayed in a film (which I had seen be­fore). Un­for­tu­nately, soon this will be the only way in which the Shoah can be re­lated.

While I am of course aware that Jewish peo­ple do not wish to claim that his­tor­i­cally they have suf­fered more than any­one else, in my opin­ion the Holo­caust re­ally was dif­fer­ent.

It is the only mass killing where one na­tion in­flu­enced so many other na­tions to col­lude in the de­struc­tion of a sin­gle peo­ple, with the de­clared pur­pose of an­ni­hi­lat­ing of ev­ery Jew on the face of the earth.

I am sure HMD is a very im­por­tant event which aims to teach ev­ery­one the lessons of the past and which recog­nises that geno­cide does not just take place on its own, and that it is a steady process that be­gins with dis­crim­i­na­tion lead­ing to racism and ha­tred, but when at the end of the cer­e­mony six can­dles were lit to com­mem­o­rate six geno­cides which have taken place across the world, again I felt that the num­ber six should be re­served for the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the six mil­lion Jews.

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