Last Sunday (April 18), the world observed Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Over the course of this week, events were held around the world honoring the lives of the estimated six million victims of Nazi aggression and genocide that were stolen during the Holocaust. Today, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement after the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol:
“Six decades have not dulled the horror of the atrocities inflicted on the innocent victims of a madman’s reign and wrath. Today, we remember the millions of lives cut short by the hate, intolerance and bigotry that grew, unrestrained, like a cancer on the European continent a generation ago.
“It is a simple, yet painful, act to listen to the stories, of fathers and mothers taken away and children shot at random; of years of starvation, of torture, of unimaginable cruelty. It is the comprehension which eludes us. Words are not enough to describe the violence that took place nor the pain experienced by entire generations of Jewish people and European citizens. And yet we must try and understand how one of the darkest hours in all of human history came to pass, lest we repeat the same mistakes.
“Our duty to the victims, then, is to bear witness to their stories and their memories. We also have a duty to those heroic individuals who stood up to the Nazis and refused to let the human spirit succumb to evil. ‘Lest we forget’ means that this generation understands and embraces its moral obligation to promote the respect and value inherent in every human being.
“Remembering the Holocaust means passing on to new generations the images and records, however disturbing, of the consequences of hatred. Intolerance and hatred based on one’s ethnicity, race and religious beliefs are a cancer that, left unchecked, threaten to metastasize and sicken all of society. This generation must answer history’s call: eternal vigilance. There is no alternative. We must embrace our duty.”