A photo of a lone yellow candle burning amidst blackness all around.

Reflections on This Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Today, we remember the 11 Million people who were murdered - 6 Million of them Jews. We vow to Never Forget.

Survivors of the Holocaust endured some of the most unspeakable conditions in history. Just thinking about what they went through brings tears to my eyes, writing this. The world failed them, and despite this, they didn’t fail the world. They did the opposite.

Survivors used their experience to bring light to the world in unimaginable, unfathomable ways. They made sure that the lives of those lost meant something.

The philosophies of Elie Wiesel and Hannah Arendt taught us about human nature and fighting evil, to prevent these atrocities from happening again. Others went on to create new fields of psychology, conduct orchestras, lead groundbreaking mathematical and scientific breakthroughs, write bestselling novels, become famous Hollywood actors, and even become famous sex doctors. Their contributions to a world that ignored them are infinite.

And more remarkable, still, is their ability to persevere, and to willingly relive experiences that none of us could imagine so the lessons of the Holocaust don’t go unlearned, and that the dead are not forgotten. To make sure that the Nazis didn’t succeed, and that the Jewish people not only live on, but thrive. 

My hope for each of us is that we find even a fraction of this ability to turn darkness into light, and that we continue to honor those who didn’t survive by burning even brighter, for them.