Wednesday, January 27, 2010

World Holocaust Memorial Day

On 27 January 1945 the Red Army reached the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland, the largest of those established by the Nazis during WW2. Thus this day is given to remembering the 6 million Jews who perished during the Nazis' campaign of Vernichtung, about 90% of them from Eastern Europe. Although this figure was actually dwarfed by the number of people Stalin managed to dispose of, from the late 1920s to his death in 1953, through deliberate starvation, forced labour and executions, the Nazis' purpose-built death factories are still more shocking for most people.

Today the focus of the extreme right in Europe and elsewhere has shifted to Muslims, while the extreme left is now anti-semetic, as we have seen (in a small way) locally. The holocaust memorials help to remind where the road of extreme prejudice leads.

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