Join Sivan's newsletter!

Get updates & news via Email

Knowledge is power

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

A plethora of personal stories have been sent to me that are highly appropriate for publication on Yom HaShoah. However, it seems equally important to me today to share six cold, hard historical facts. These are essential facts which, according to *Professor Yosef Ben-Shlomo*, need to be learned well since they help to answer a fundamental question: What made the Holocaust a unique event, unlike anything else in human history?

1. "Yudenrein." For the first time in history (other than Haman’s plot against the Jews in ancient Persia), one nation sought the complete elimination of another, despite the fact that the vast majority of the nation targeted for extermination lived outside the territory of the aggressor nation. The goal was not to just put the other nation into exile but to erase it from the face of the earth. In Nazi documents on the number of Jews destined for death, the tiny Albanian Jewish community of 200 souls was noted.

2. Absence of opposition. In the Wannsee Conference of January, 1942, the “Final Solution” was unanimously approved by the fifteen attendees, all of whom held high-ranking ministerial positions in the German government, and eight of whom were holders of doctorate degrees.

3. The Germans worked against their own interests in World War II. Even as Germany was losing the war, it behaved irrationally. Instead of investing in fighting enemy forces, the Germans continued “to waste” energy on their Jewish extermination project.

4. They were not crazy. Among the murderers were family men and women, professionals, and intellectuals. They were perfectly sane. Millions of ordinary, regular folks did not see any problem with taking part in this giant extermination project.

5. The concentration camps were not bombed. The death factories continued to operate without interference by the Western allied nations or their armies, even while the allies regularly bombed Nazi munitions factories.

6. There was no way out. Unlike their ability to cope with other horrendous decrees and persecutions throughout history, the Jews of Europe had no way out. There was no possibility of saving themselves through cooperation with the enemy, either by being exiled or by conversion to another faith. Death was their only option.

Today, as we face rampant anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, ignorance, and forgetfulness, it's worthwhile to remember: knowledge is power.

Professor Shalom Rosenberg noted that Nazi Germany, the absolute evil of our times, singled out Judaism and the Jews as the absolute enemy. We did not merit to see G-d descend on Mount Sinai and proclaim: "You are my beloved," but we were privileged in our generation to see Satan proclaim: "You are my enemy." Therefore, every Jew must always ask himself: "How am I an enemy of evil?"


We use cookies to ensure the best experience for you. Please, accept the usage of cookies.