BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

John Denney 25 January 2008


Holocaust Memorial Day


Like 85% of the population, I was born after the 2nd World War. And so I was spared any first-hand knowledge of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the European Jews and the gypsies and the homosexuals and those born with a disability. What we refer to now as "the holocaust". It was perhaps the most wicked deliberate attempt at genocide the world had seen to date. And when the full extent of what had been done at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka and Sobibor and all the other death camps was exposed in photograph and newsreel, in newspaper and wireless report, the decent people of the world vowed that industrialised murder should never happen again.


But such is the depravity of human nature, that genocide and ethnic cleansing has been perpetrated again and again in the sixty years since the Nazi death camps were closed. We have seen such atrocities by the Indonesians in East Timor, by the Janjaweed against the people of Darfur, by the Tutsis against the Hutu in Rwanda, by the Serbs against the Bosnians at Srebrenica; and there are many others. Truly, there is no health in us[1].


So that is why this coming Sunday's Holocaust Memorial Day is important. It's a time to remember the horrors of the past, but even more to resolve to prevent any future recurrences. For it's only by the exercise of the concerted will of the decent peoples of this earth - and that includes you and me - can prevent future atrocities like the holocaust.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven[2].


[1] "General Confession, BCP Evening Prayer

[2] Matthew 5:9-10 NIV