Every January 27, the world stops to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day and reflect on the unspeakable horror of one of the darkest events in human history.
It was on January 27, 1945, that Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, a Nazi camp in occupied Poland, and discovered many thousands of people, most of them Jewish, dying of famine, disease and exhaustion. Then the soldiers found the gas chambers and ovens that had made Auschwitz the largest of the Nazi extermination camps.
It’s estimated that the Holocaust took the lives of some 11 million people. That’s more than all the armed forces personnel who died during the First World War.
It’s almost 75 years on, and most of the actors in that awful episode of history are gone. And yet we continue to remember the Holocaust and reflect upon it. Why?
The Holocaust didn’t happen overnight. A series of acts and measures over years laid the groundwork for this supreme act of brutality. Once it started, people who knew about the Holocaust either didn’t care, didn’t know what to do, or were too afraid to speak out.
OPSEU cares deeply about the victims of the Holocaust and their families, and we will continue to speak out boldly and loudly whenever, and wherever we see injustice. We must be constantly vigilant. We must condemn any action that could lead to similar atrocities. We cannot stand by and watch a series of acts and measures to unfold before we say and do something. We must speak out the first time we notice something unfair. Something deceptive. Something sinister. We cannot allow another Holocaust to occur under our watch. So this January 27, we stand with individuals, organizations and nations the world over to remember the Holocaust, to mourn the millions we lost, and to promise with one united voice: “Never again!”