Auschwitz Concentration Camp was liberated by the British Army 75 years ago. Within the camp, over 1 million individuals were killed through brutality, starvation and gas. Their belongings and gold teeth were gathered as bounty by the Nazis.
The horrors and smells remain in the minds of those who survived, their saviors, and the families and children who came after.
I was born in the shadow of the Holocaust. Baby Boomers like me born into Jewish families listened to the names of loved ones who cruelly died. The lives lost, their stories, their very names became part of us.
Not to believe the soul-impacting reality, which is a voice heard within the recesses of my mind, would simply be a lie.
As Americans blessed to reside in a nation wherein the guiding principal is freedom of religion, news of new outrages and hatred seem foreign and of no immediate threat.
Yet synagogues are now guarded and nightly reports of anti-Semitism are frequent.
The United States has never sustained the constant hate speech of today. The fear of caravans of immigrants surging our borders, the changing of the American demographic landscape to a nation of white minority, and the age of technology destroying blue -collar employment have many of our citizens looking to blame “others” as the reason.
Our national history has had episodes of prejudice, hate and fear. The Yellow Peril, Japanese internment, KKK, John Birch Society, McCarthyism, and today, militias.
Over time and the strength of moral leaders who were committed to the ideals of American exceptionalism, sense and moderation was restored to the national discourse.
In the absence of leaders today, who will speak truth to power? There is no reason to believe the mania that allowed the creation of Auschwitz could not happen here.