Letter to the Editor: A call to recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day

William Choslovsky

Adolf Hitler’s Nazis murdered 6 million Jews — 6 million girls, men, grandmothers, babies, uncles, neighbors, women, fathers, friends, sisters, colleagues, cousins, lovers, boys, mothers and aunts — 6 million human beings. Though Hitler’s main target was Jews, he also exterminated 5 million other people, mostly Catholics, homosexuals, gypsies and the handicapped, to support his master race ambition.

For perspective, consider this: If you read each victim’s name — taking just two seconds per name — it would take you 139 days to complete the task.  Start today and you will not finish until you return for classes in the fall. But that is only if you never stop to eat, drink or sleep, much like the conditions the victims endured.

Most perished (were murdered) quickly in the gas chambers, gallows or execution lines. The rest were forced to perform labor so excruciating the likes of which adjectives do no justice in describing. Then there were the rapes, beatings, heinous medical “experiments” and brutal, arbitrary tortures. None of this happened by accident. And it happened in the “modern era” in the most civilized of countries, and it happened for only one reason: because they were Jews. Somehow, a few survived.

Amazingly, there is a group of individuals — like tenured engineering professor Arthur Butz — who deny the Holocaust ever occurred. These deniers are called “Holocaust revisionists.” But if they are “revisionists,” then I suppose the town idiot who claims that two plus two is five is a “mathematical revisionist.” We are talking historical fact, not policy debates or competing historical theories.

It has now been 68 years since the war ended and the concentration camps liberated, so soon there will be no survivors left. When that happens, the events will truly be “history,” meaning no different than the Middle Ages or the Civil War for most of us.

The lessons of the Holocaust are hardly static. Today — not 1944 — synagogues are vandalized in Europe. Arab children use textbooks demonizing Jews. Foreign “news” organizations “report” that America and Israel orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Likewise, the lessons of the Holocaust are not limited to Jews, as unfortunately nobody has a monopoly on hate. Long before Darfur, upwards of 2 million Christians were butchered in the Sudan under the command “convert or die.” Trains carrying Hindus are set afire in India. A million Tutsis were hacked and murdered in Rwanda in 100 days in 1994. Saddam Hussein gassed Kurds.

And so it goes. Millions killed not for anything they did, but because of who they were.

As people like Prof. Butz hide in their ivory towers, do not forget Holocaust Remembrance Day, lest the victims of the Holocaust died in vain.

William Choslovsky

Attorney and Chicago Resident