Racism. Discrimination. Hatred. Prejudice. Bias. Stereotypes.
All of these words hold negative connotations. Some may see a ‘joke’ as harmless fun, but ultimately what do these things lead to?
The Holocaust was an awful event – one that will leave a black mark on our history forever. The term originates from Greek roots, meaning ‘sacrifice by fire”. (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143)
During this time, some Germans believed that they were ‘racially superior’ and that there were ‘inferior’ threats to the ‘German’ racial community. The groups that were targeted were Jewish people, Gypsies, some of the Slavic people (countries like Poland and Russia), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and the disabled (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005143)
The number of lives lost from the Holocaust is alarming. 6 million Jews and almost 2 million non-Jewish people were ‘exterminated’.
But this got me thinking; could something of this magnitude could ever happen again? Sadly you can draw on history;
- Stolen Generations
These are to name a few – there are many other cases of human depravity that have since occurred. It is alarming; and yet still possible. Why are we not learning from our mistakes? Why isn’t society standing up and demanding change? We acknowledge the wrongs – and yet what steps are taken to move forward and ensure that these types of horrific events never happen again?
Picture the MCG at full capacity. You have 100,000 people. Imagine these people being those who aren’t Jewish, Gypsies, or African American decent or homosexual. How many do you think would have helped someone who identified as one of these categories? 50, 000? 10, 000? Maybe even 1000 – 1% of the group, surely? You would still be wrong! Well surely 100 seems like a more reasonable figure – no still wrong! The number is 6! Six people would have stood up against those soldiers and said, ‘No, this is not right’. 6 people out of a potential 100,000!
Edmund Burke said – “For evil to triumph good men need only do nothing.” So although you may not overtly say things or behave in a way that treats others differently – does being a bystander and doing nothing make you just as guilty? While the Nazis committed the Holocaust, it was ordinary everyday people like you and I who allowed it to happen. They could have stood up and objected, but they did not. They made a decision. They did nothing and let it happen. If a holocaust occurred again, would you be silent and do nothing, just like the “ordinary every day people” of Hitler’s time, or would you be different? How could you be different?”
How do we create a drive to want to make a difference? To take what we know, and what we can learn, and educate others on what happened. As time goes on, the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust will, sadly, diminish, however, being able to share their story will not. Although we cannot change history, we can learn from it. Just from critically considering what is written here – what have you learned? What can you do? Why should you do it?