Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a global commemoration sanctioned by
the United Nations. As you might expect, the occasion is evoking deep reflections and poignant meditations in writers, Jewish and not, across the ideological
spectrum. Many discuss the Holocaust's significance today, touching on
topics from technology to parenting.
- Holocaust Memorials in a Digital World The Guardian's Mercedes Bunz writes, "The use of digital engagement to keep such memories alive is becoming more and more common, but it is also controversial: it is claimed that it might just be a simple way for users to ease their conscience." Critics worry that "remembrance" through lazy acts like flagging a Facebook status update cheapen what should be a grave memorial process.
- 'Talking to Children About Evil' The Huffington Post's Delia Lloyd sees it as an obligation as a parent and member of society. "[C]hildren need to know that the Holocaust happened in order to comprehend its magnitude and horror and very possibility, if for no other reason than to guard against it happening again," she writes, noting that she also discusses the Haitian earthquake with her children. "Whether that's to make her appreciate justhow fortunate she is or to begin to teach her about charitable giving, it's a worthwhile lesson."
- Great Responsibility for Historians Haaretz's Niva Lanir muses, "Even after the last of the victims, the last of the murderers and the last of those who looked on have died - everything will remain, documented and dated." Historians producing books and documentaries are providing a tremendous record for the next generations. However, some obstacles remain. "The limited number of available documents does not enable a summation of the attitude held by the Vatican and Pius XII during World War II, making it difficult to elucidate the role they played."
- Stop Using Holocaust as Political Prop The U.K. Telegraph's Julian Kossof denounces "anti-Zionists who use Holocaust imagery to further their cause" as well as "right wing Zionists and religious zealots who ritually denounce their critics (including other Jews) as 'Nazis.'"
- An Auschwitz Survivor Remembers In the New York Times, survivor Samuel Pisar looks back. "Today we, the last living survivors of the greatest catastrophe ever perpetrated by man against man, are disappearing one by one. Soon, history will speak about Auschwitz at best with the impersonal voice of researchers and novelists," he writes. "The fury of the Haiti earthquake, which has taken more than 150,000 lives, teaches us how cruel nature can be. The Holocaust teaches us that nature, even in its cruelest moments, is benign in comparison with man when he loses his moral compass and his reason."
- German Conservative Revisionism? The Guardian's Alan Posener is wary. "There is a residual feeling among many Germans, and by no means only on the extreme right, that enough is enough, that too much self-examination and breast-beating somehow damages the German psyche, that it is time for a new self-confidence, that the nation needs to see the Nazi crimes in perspective," he writes. "This kind of revisionism is only to be expected. Debates on the issue sweep the country regularly." But he worries it is gaining a broader base.