On January 27, 1945, the largest of the Nazi death camps (Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland) was liberated by Soviet troops. In October 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as "International Holocaust Remembrance Day" (IHRD) to commemorate and honor the victims of the Nazi era. Note that the UN-sponsored date is NOT the same thing as Yom HaShoah, which occurs in the spring (Nisan 27).
The systematic genocide of the Jewish people is one of the most heinous crimes in the history of humanity. Reflecting on the atrocities should lead each of us to be vigilant to protect the individual liberties of all people at the hands of the State. Any political ideology or religious creed that elevates the interest of the "collective" over the sanctity of the individual is therefore inherently suspect....
וַתִּתְעַטֵּף עָלַי רוּחִי בְּתוֹכִי יִשְׁתּוֹמֵם לִבִּי׃
My spirit failed within me; my mind was numbed with horror (Psalm 143:4)
We see terrifying analogues of a fascist worldview in our postmodern world today. The traditional view that "truth" is a correspondence between reality and language has been largely abandoned. Today -- as it was in Hitler's Germany -- truth is cynically regarded as a "construct" of interpretation driven by the will to power. Literary deconstruction and fascism go hand in hand. Hegel's dialectic (i.e., the devil's logic) is still at work in the halls of power to this very day, and therefore the message of the Holocaust is a message for all of us to resist tyranny and the political forces that seek to enslave us.
Thank God - am Yisrael Chai: "The people of Israel live!"
For more information about International Holocaust Remembrance Day, see: