January 27 was International Holocaust Day, a day to remember the victims of Nazi terrorism and the liberation of Auschwitz, a death camp that murdered over 1 million Jews. Hitler’s plan was referred to as the Final Solution and in total, over 6 million Jews, Romanos, Russians, Polish, and others were murdered by the Nazis.
This year marks my ninth year of in-depth studies of World War II and the Holocaust, the subject of my most recent and next two books. What I have just discovered is the following information published by The Forward, a Jewish newspaper that has been published since 1897. This is the quotation from The Forward:
On Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Forward is publishing the first-ever database of monuments to Nazi collaborators and Holocaust perpetrators. It lists 320 monuments and street names in 16 countries on three continents which represent men and organizations who’ve enabled — and often quite literally implemented — the Final Solution.
We live in a country that has been quite verbal and demonstrative about removing statues of slavers and colonizers whose deeds were considered reprehensible by subsequent generations. Somehow, while freedom speech is a right guaranteed to Americans, monuments that are erected and maintained are not protected by that right. My observation here is that protesters could be lawfully protected when they removed offensive statues while those that are much more offensive (at least to some of us) are maintained.
Holocaust perpetrators lived in many countries around the globe. They arrested and deported Jews to concentration camps or killed them in locations within Eastern Europe. It has been estimated that one-third of all Holocaust victims were killed in this manner.
We have chosen to honor many of these Nazis with memorials in our own country, many of which were erected within the past twenty years. Here are two examples, also from The Forward.
Andrey Vlasov, the Soviet general who went over to the Nazis and raised an army of over 100,000 men for the Third Reich, has a memorial just outside New York.
Chicago also has a memorial to Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, who commanded a unit of the Lithuanian Activist Front, a Nazi-allied organization whose members slaughtered Jews across Lithuania in the summer of 1941.
With all of the hate-mongering and outrage about past slave-owners, we see fit to honor Nazi allies in a city like Chicago that boasts a huge Jewish population. With sixteen countries throughout the world containing these memorials, is it any wonder that we are also seeing Holocaust denial organizations and neo-Nazis at the attack on our Capitol building? While all of this makes me very sad and worried, I am more determined than ever to make certain that the world never forgets. Shalom.