Today, the 28th January 2022 we stand in solidarity with all whose lives were changed forever because of the holocaust. The world marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp where 1.1 million people were gassed to death or died from starvation or multiple forms of brutality. ‘960, 000 were Jewish, 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet Prisoners of War, 15,000 other Europeans.’ All were victims of man’s brutality to man; for those of Jewish heritage, race was the only ‘crime’ for which they were exterminated.
Our world mourns this horrific tragedy – the plea of the survivors is, ‘Never Again.’ From the depths of their wounded souls, they plead with all of us never to allow such a catastrophe to take place in any part of the world. These extraordinarily brave people have borne their sufferings with fortitude and courage as they have endeavoured to rebuild their lives and beg all people to live a deeper humanity and compassion for each other. They are all too well aware that if compassion, love and deep forgiveness are not the hallmark of all of us, holocausts of different forms will continue and innocent people will suffer grievously and may die. The response to their plea lies deep in the hearts of each one of us – only we can choose how we respond. Our strength lies in the witness of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Jewish Saviour who laid down His life that all may be one and live fullness of life in freedom, justice and truth. We entrust this memorial day to His guidance, mercy and care. May the blood of His cross cleanse each one of us of any fear that may lead to division and wound the soul of another; may the healing of our deeply wounded world begin again, today.
© Siobhan O’Keeffe 2022, all rights reserved