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auschwitz1So yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.  I’ve thought about it a bit, and it seemed like it would be appropriate to remember it in some fashion.

But how?  What does one say about this?  What CAN one say about this?

I’m going to assume that if you’re taking the time to read this that you’re familiar with the basic story of the Holocaust.  If you’re not, I’m probably not the person you should be talking to about it.  There are some great sites that you can go to, and I’ll list a couple at the end.

As I reflected on this I wondered…do flowers grow at Auschwitz?  I mean, I’m sure they do, right?  But if they do, I wonder how something so beautiful could emerge from a place of so much evil?

The human heart, the human condition, can conjure so much evil. We see that manifest not just in the stories of the Holocaust and World War II, but through countless stories from many cultures all around the globe.  It seems that where we go, death follows, sometimes death on a mass scale.

Could it happen again?

I’ve never been to Auschwitz.  I’m not sure that I want to go there. I mean, there’s the part of me that earned a minor in history that says yes, this is important.  There’s a part of me that wants it as a life experience, as if going there would give the people who died there one more way to live on and never be forgotten.  There’s also a part of me that is intimidated, if not outright frightened.  Can one feel the evil there?  I’ve never spoken to anyone who has been there, though one of the people at church has been to Dachau. He said it was an eerie and indescribable sensation, especially since the day he was there it was raining hard and there were no tourists around (he was in the military, stationed in Europe at the time).

I’m not sure I could do that.  I’m not sure I could be alone with The Evil.  Maybe some folks could go and just shrug it off, but I’m not sure that would be a good thing.

We’re now seventy years on from the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of World War II.  I look around and I see the events on the news, I see the vitriol that is often spewed on the internet and social media, and I feel the fear and tension that seems to permeate our society.  I see and feel this and I wonder…..

Could it happen again?

Sure it could.  We’d be doing ourselves a horrible disfavor, and the victims a horrible disrespect, if we didn’t believe that it could happen again.

We must guard our hearts.  We must examine our conscience,  We must educate ourselves.  We must seek to educate others.  We must strive for peace and understanding in the world.  We must seek to find non-violent solutions to life’s problems that can grow out of mutual understanding, respect, and love.

But we must never forget.

Never, ever, forget.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum