Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day set aside for remembering the worst tragedy in human history. Survivor Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz says it best: forget the six million who died, and they die another death. Watch her here. Her words are powerful and are important to hear.

Susan was only 18 when she suffered the horrors of Auschwitz, probably the most horrible and well-known concentration camp that the Nazis used to carry an unthinkable extermination. Her mind-blowing story is well-told here, as she uses her experiences these many decades later to educate school children on the Holocaust.

Susan survived and made her way to America, where she achieved not only a college degree, but also a Ph.D., and has dedicated her life to educating the world on the Holocaust.

Why is it so important for her to educate children? Because there are still people who can’t — or don’t want to — believe that the Holocaust happened. Unthinkably, there are people who refuse to accept this as the atrocious reality that it is. If we just look at what, even after WW II had ended, happened to the Carpathian Germans in Slovakia, we even see that the atrocities continued and still, people refuse to accept the reality of it all? Well, to be honest, that is unthinkable!

When you think about the Holocaust, you can’t help but put yourself in the shoes of the American soldiers who were often some of the first to discover the horror of these camps, seeing with their own eyes the worst thing to have ever happened in humanity.

As you know, the point of this blog is to honor veterans.  In honoring their service, we must always remember it in the context of the atrocities they were fighting, unbeknownst even to them. See also this article about the Museum of Carpathian German Culture in Bratislava.

To honor these survivors, and the service of the men and women who fought in World War II, we can’t ever forget about the Holocaust. The six million people who were victims of the Nazis and the 16 million Americans who went to war to fight tyranny deserve it. Let’s choose to remember.

His Day in Court

On Saturday, a good friend of mine gets to take a very special veteran to court. Yes, to court.

He committed no crime; in fact, he is being honored by DFW-based volunteers of the Veterans History Project, a legislatively supported initiative of the U.S. Library of Congress to capture and preserve veterans’ stories for all generations. Their oral histories are being taken by professional court reporters (fun fact: many court reporters type almost 300 words per minute with amazing accuracy!), with testimonies being conducted by legal experts who are following a basic line of questioning.

The result will be an astounding volume of information from veterans of all wars, properly recorded and preserved for our children, grandchildren, great-great-great-great-grandchildren, and so on. Can you imagine being able to grow up listening to these stories? Check out also: A Chronological Overview of German Immigration to America. 

It really makes me wonder what it would have been like to have heard stories like this when I was growing up. What kind of difference will it make for future generations? It’s hard to think that a project like this wouldn’t change the world. I’m anticipating that it will.