It is now more than 70 years since the Second World War in Europe ended and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, then the supreme commander of the Allied Forces, was so correct after he found the victims of the death camps to order that all possible photographs be taken.
He said words to this effect: “Get it all on record now, get the films, get the witnesses because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say this never happened.”
He really was so correct because now a Holocaust denier named Arthur Jones is actually poised to claim the GOP nomination in an Illinois race for Congress.
Jones, 70, has run unsuccessfully for elected offices in the Chicago area and Milwaukee since the 1970s, but this time the outcome will be different because he is the only one on the Republican ballot.
The outspoken white supremacist, whose website titled “The Holocaust Racket,” calls the genocide “the biggest, blackest lie in history.”
People from many countries know the many facts about the Holocaust. They tell their children about the horror of the days under the Nazis’ rule, but obviously, Jones refuses to recognize the following facts of the Holocaust:
It began in January 1933 with the beginning of the Hitler era. The Jewish population of Europe was greater than nine million. By 1945, the Germans had killed nearly two out of three of them. They once killed more than 30,000 people in just two days.
Cattle wagons were often used for transporting people to the death camps, and since the longest route took 20 days many died on route. To prevent people’s horror, the Nazis told the Jews that after they arrived in the camps they would be cleaned and washed.
By 1945 when the war ended, the Germans had built nearly 20 concentration camps. The most well known was Auschwitz, which was a network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated in Polish areas by the Nazis. Dachau was the first established concentration camp, just outside of Munich, and Buchenwald, which I had no part in freeing, but did have the opportunity to visit two days later and witness the devastation with my sad, sad, unbelieving eyes.
Although Jews were the primary victims, a majority of the extermination camps were built in various Nazi-occupied countries, and other victims included some 200,000 Gypsies and at least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled Germans living in institutions. They were murdered under the Germans’ so-called “euthanasia program”.
The crimes committed during the Holocaust devastated most European Jewish communities and entirely eliminated hundreds of Jewish communities in occupied Eastern Europe.
A few years ago, the United Kingdom debated whether to remove the Holocaust from its school curriculum, and now with a country like Iran, and someone like an Arthur Jones running for a congressional seat in our own country attempting to rewrite history by claiming the Holocaust never happened, it is more imperative than ever that we observe this tragedy to make sure that the world never forgets.
This May when we do have a special remembrance Holocaust Day, remember how fortunate you are to be living in the U.S.A., and remember these words from the song “God Bless the U.S.A.”:
“I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me, and I’d gladly stand up stand up next to you and defend her still today ‘cause there ain’t no doubt, I love this land. God bless the U.S.A.”
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