International Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on the day that Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz. On that day, the largest death camp during the Shoah ceased its death machine, its remaining prisoners spared from the crematoriums and the gas chambers. On this day, people write various statuses on social media, post pictures showing the horrors that the Nazis committed against other human beings, and add two simple words: Never again.
But on January 28th, the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day, very few people will carry on the memory of the eleven million savagely murdered in the Shoah. People will forget that hateful ideologies are still capable of committing the worst crimes against humanity. In some cases, you will have critics argue that the Jewish people talk about the Holocaust too much, believing that the world has learned from it and will never let it happen again.
However, the lessons of the Shoah have not permeated the minds of the world. People in the world deny the existence of the Holocaust while simultaneously calling for another. European governments claim that their remaining Jewish populations remain integral to its diversity, yet they refuse to condemn the forces that are both persecuting and killing Jews. The international community holds a Holocaust Remembrance Day, yet it tolerates the presence of genocidal dictators and undemocratic leadership within the Human Rights Council, giving their outrageous human rights violations a pass. Furthermore, college campuses across the world face some of the worst instances of anti-Semitism, endangering the Jewish community and submitting them into silence.
The Jewish people have not escaped the vicious, irrational hatred that threw us into Auschwitz in the first place. In fact, we never lost sight of it even in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the death camps. But as the number of Shoah survivors decrease through time and the next generation of children cannot put a face to the horrors of the Nazis, we face the possibility of that history being forgotten. It was easy for the international community to forget the mass expulsion of Jews from the Arab world during the Israeli War of Independence, so who is to say that the Shoah is not prone to be forgotten, too? The rising anti-Semitism in the modern day supports the argument for teaching the Holocaust over the course of a child’s lifetime.
It is clear that the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day will not be filled with photographs of Auschwitz or Dachau, nor with the personal stories of those who survived. But what can we do instead? What should the Jewish people do to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust remain in the minds of those who weren’t directly affected?
For me, I look to the only movement that combats anti-Semitism on a global scale: Zionism. It played a key role in the story of the Shoah. It catalyzed the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Zionism proactively fought against the Nazis in Europe and it defied the British White Paper to bring Jews into Eretz Yisrael. It empowered the Jewish people to take up arms, pledging to fight for their survival rather than becoming slaughtered like sheep. Out of the ashes of six million Jewish men, women, and children, the Zionist movement grew in strength and in numbers, and it interfered with Hitler’s Final Solution. The State of Israel was, and still is, the answer to the rising anti-Semitism in the world, and its ongoing mission is to prevent another Shoah from occurring.
It remains critically important that the rest of the world does not forget the lessons of the Shoah. In order to do that, we must proclaim what Zionism’s true goal is. We must remind the world that if it were not for the rising anti-Semitism in the world, Zionism would not have come into fruition. Until Jew-hatred disappears from the minds of the ignorant and ceases to influence policy makers globally, Zionism remains relevant today. At the rate that the world is becoming increasingly anti-Semitic, it should be expected that Zionism not only remains, but it will also thrive at unprecedented rates.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we should mourn and remember those who were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Immediately afterwards, the Jewish people should proclaim Zionism and declare our rights to life and our homeland. But it must start the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day. Otherwise, the world will start to forget about those who did not survive the gas chambers.