It was 70 years ago today that Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Army (one of the few good things to have happened under Stalin).
As only a few thousand detainees remained in the camp, the liberation was of little help to those who had been evacuated under orders by Himmler earlier in the month and sent on a march to their deaths. Nevertheless, the liberation marked the end of a horror which saw more than 1 million people lose their lives, a majority of them Jews.
When I was a boy growing up in Thunder Bay, I attended Shaarey Shomayim Synagogue. Several of the congregants had survived Auschwitz including the man who served as our cantor. You could hear the horror in his voice every time he sang during Shabbat services. I also remember seeing that tatoo on his arm.
There is a lot of lip service paid to sentiments such as “Never Forget”. But there is good reason we should never forget. If certain people in the world had their way they would happily see Jews placed in gas chambers be it those Hamas supporters who trapped Jews inside a Paris synagogue chanting “Death to the Jews!!!” last summer or the people who disrupted the New York City Council’s resolution comemmorating the Auschwitz liberation a few days ago. Shamefully, some Jews were involved in the latter display and not only sullied the memories of those who perished at Auschwitz, but are effectively advocating their own execution. They are the very definition of useful idiots.
Rising out of the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel has given Jews a home in which to live and prosper for more than six decades. It has served as a bulwark against those who would like to see Jews eliminated from the face of the earth. But far more dangerous than those who would trap Jews in a Paris synagogue and those who would disrupt a Holocaust Remembrance ceremony in New York is the Obama Administration’s obsession to obtain a nuclear agreement with Iran instead of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in the first place. Iran is all too aware of this obsession and is happy to string along the Obama Administration and will do so until it develops a weapon or their term expires leaving its successor to deal with this mess. If the Obama Administration allows Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and Iran follows through with its threats to wipe Israel off the map then President Obama will bear much of the responsibility for a second Holocaust.
So in 2015 the best way to remember not only those who died at Auschwitz, but to honor those who survived is to listen to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress about the threat Iran poses as a nuclear power and to support Congressional actions for further sanctions against Iran even if President Obama is intent on vetoing such measures.
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