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“International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 8.7 million Slavs, 1.8 million ethnic Poles, 220,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, 312,000 Serb civilians, 1,900 Jehovah’s Witnesses, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.” In the UK the same date commemorates “genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Dafur.” Wikipedia
In 1969 Silo invited to carry peace in oneself and to carry it to others. Amongst the proposals for nonviolence and reconciliation he encouraged people to find a profound meaning in their lives away from the provisional meanings offered by an increasingly cruel and dehumanised society. Meaning is never something to search for alone, it connects us to other people because as we get in touch with what is profoundly human in us, we recognise it in others.
In this day of Holocaust commemoration here is the voice of Viktor Frankl, who although a survivor of a concentration camp where he lost his most beloved members of his family, he went on to find his own meaning and to share with the world its healing power.
Everyone should watch this lecture by Dr Viktor Frankl, recorded in 1973 but more relevant today than ever. Worth watching till the end.
Meaning is the only thing that can liberate humanity from the fear-inducing manipulation of the powerful that makes us follow them, vote for them and listen to their lies in exchange from “security” . Hitler was not the first and certainly we have been able to verify he was not the last. May be the most extreme? Methods are changing, becoming more sofisticated, tanks are replaced by WhatsApp but the end result is the same, millions die and the rich get richer.
If we listen to Frankl, and Silo, and all the guides of Nonviolence and reconciliation, if we realise that in Germany itself, under the hypnotic brainwashing of one of the most efficient evil propaganda machines in history, millions of people remained resistant to it, true to their own meaning, then we will understand the power of this deeply human proposal. We will also understand how people are starting to respond to the new leaders of progressive movements appearing everywhere in spite of the seemingly hopeless situation.
If our hearts are set on compassion we will easily recognise the signs of an impending genocide: growing discrimination of minority groups, scapegoating them for the ills of society, growing cruelty and dehumanisation, fear and mistrust spreading through ordinary people, populist leaders repeating lie after lie about the need of a strong hand to save you and your family, even if that means to kill in cold blood the “undeserving” in society because they are a threat to all. If they manage to scare us, let us not lock our doors and hide under the bed, let’s get out, find our friends, discuss in communities, see through the lies (a TV channel has brought in a “reality testing correspondent”. Bravo!) and the ghost of the next genocide will desintegrarte in shame.