Hannah Johnson

Never Again, a call to action

It’s what comes after the never again that speaks volumes about the way in which our society is developing.

Today is Yom HaShoah, the Israeli day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and the resistance fighters in the ghettos. In Israel, everything stops at the sound of a siren. The heartbeat of a nation beats as one in honor of six million who were brutally ripped from this world. The heartbeat of the nation of Israel, the greatest victory defying everything that the Nazis and Hitler sought to accomplish.

This year also marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau. Auschwitz was and is the camp notoriously known as being one of the worst during the Holocaust. It alone killed one million of the six million Jews that died, as well as 200,000 others not seen fit to live by the Nazi regime.

It is in the wake of such tragedy that the creed, never again, gained power and popularity. But today, after the world commemorates those killed, will never again still ring true?

The world is once again at a crossroads. Humanity is once again being threatened. The forces of hate are gaining ground throughout society. Once again, the world is witnessing individuals being singled out for their ethnicity and religion. They are dying because tolerance is not part of the vocabulary of radical extremists.

So in the shadow of never again, are we doing anything? How come we are complacent while Christians are being slaughtered in Nigeria and Syria? The Kurds have never been accepted. Until recently, they alone have been leading the charge against the Islamic State. The state of Israel is to this day is still not recognized by some of her neighbors and terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah have made it their mission to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Jews in France are facing increasing violence against their community, some even resulting in deaths.

In light of these events, do we truly mean never again? It is important to memorialize and the remember the dead, but the greatest legacy we can give them is to change things. We should see the Holocaust and learn from it what hate is capable of. We should do all in our power to teach acceptance, understanding and appreciating the differences that make this world so beautifully diverse. It has to come after the never again for things to actually change.

So today, I remember six million lives extinguished. I will never forget that their legacy and the anthem of never again is my and the world’s call to action to be better for the sake of humanity.

About the Author
Hannah is currently an MA student in Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University. Graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Jewish Studies and History, where she started the first Pro Israel Christian organization on campus. Hannah is a proud voice for Israel wherever she goes.