As some cynics might remark, surely only the Irish could turn the focus of the Holocaust commemorations yesterday away from Nazi death camp to draw attention to our own, comparatively insignificant, local difficulties. In London, by contrast, the quiet and dignified commemorations were led by the Cheif Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs in Westminster Hall:
Dr Sacks said a “murdered generation” of six million Jews, together with tens of thousands of Roma, disabled, homosexuals and others, had been gassed and burnt for no other reason than that they were different. The victims included 1.5 million children.
Dr Sacks paid tribute to survivors, of whom 600 were present along with former soldiers who liberated the camp, but questioned how they had found the courage to continue, having witnessed such horrors. “Just as the eye can be blinded by too much light, so the soul can be broken by too much darkness. Yet theirs were not,” he said. “They reaffirmed life, built families and cared for one another. They bore witness to what happened, with no hate or desire for revenge, but simply to remember the victims, so that robbed of their lives they would not be robbed also of their deaths.”
He continued: “The survivors have borne the weight of memory. Now we must carry it and hand it on to our children.”
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty