This weekend, the world was reminded of the horrific campaign of industrialized genocide unleashed by the Nazi regime against Jews, gays, the disabled, and other persecuted minorities. Holocaust Remembrance Day was officially January 27. It is right and fitting that the world pause once a year and set aside this day for remembrance.
Yet there was a news story I came across that convinced me that I had an obligation to write a post about how we remember the Holocaust that would circulate after January 27. It was this Newsweek article, which reports that fully a third of American adults don’t believe that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
We need more than a single day, apparently, to land this point: They were.
The annual observance of this day is indeed an opportunity for us to embrace the commitment to SPEAK TRUTH. But I am posting this blog now as a reminder to myself and others that this commitment is relevant, valid, and mandatory, every day of the year.
Accountable leaders — and everyone else — have an obligation to proceed from facts. That Newsweek article shocked me into a recognition that we all have an obligation to set the record straight on this matter, to defend the truth, and to learn and pass along the lessons of history. We have a duty to remember every soul lost to this campaign of genocide, so that we can make good on the solemn promise people of conscience, and from all faith systems, renew once a year: Never again. That duty to speak the truth is more important, I believe, in the days following Holocaust Remembrance Day than it is on the day itself.
It’s not enough that we speak the truth. We must demand the truth of others. When people around us are not speaking truth, we must stand up. That goes not only for this topic but for any topic. A society that makes any decision based on anything less than the truth is society that is spiraling downward, rather than flourishing and driving upward.