April 10, 2010 in Features, News

Repudiating Holocaust Denial

Julia Wing Ferris High School
 

Mr. President Ahmadinejad:

Between the years of 1933 and 1945 in Germany and throughout Europe a tragedy occurred that still haunts the world today; nearly seventy years later. This travesty was the Holocaust. Around eleven million people perished in this event; six million of them Jewish. The Jewish and Muslim communities historically dislike each other. However, to deny the existence of such an event is an insult to not only the memories of these Jewish men and women who lost their lives in such a horrifying way, but also to five million others. These people were guilty of no crime other than being different from others—a crime every person in the world could be accused of—yet they were oppressed, denied basic human rights, forced from their homes, and slaughtered in droves for their differences.

History is studied to make sure the mistakes, the atrocities that have occurred are not repeated. And yet by denying this event you make it acceptable for such an affair to have occurred and therefore be repeated. What if another Holocaust occurred, this one targeting Muslims? Would you want the blood of millions of people on your hands because you refused to accept the existence of this Holocaust due to an aversion to the people it victimized? There will always be people in this world that have different beliefs than you. To live in this world you cannot pick and choose who you want to survive and who you don’t, lest they do the same to you.

There are an estimated 1,226 million people practicing the Islamic religion today (over 19% of the world population) while a mere 14.5 million (less than 1% of the world) practice Judaism. This religion is small and has been unfairly oppressed. It is not now and shall continue not to be a threat to the Muslim community and should be treated respectfully.

The Holocaust had a devastating impact on the world, not only on the Jewish community, but also on the lives of persecuted Gypsies, Blacks, Polish and Slavic people, the homosexual community, physically and mentally handicapped people and countless others. It also damaged the lives of all who loved those who died or suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The Holocaust is a dark stain on the history of not only Germany, but of the world. To have ever sat back and allowed such carnage to occur is a crime that shames many reputable countries in this world. Though action was taken and some lives were saved, far too many were lost.

To say that the Holocaust was a conspiracy, to say that there is no proof is a falsehood of epic proportions, insulting not only the Jewish and all other oppressed communities, but also to the brave men and women who fought and died to save the survivors of the concentration camps from complete obliteration. Furthermore, the evidence of this massacre is not hard to find. Relics of the hair, shoes, and even skin taken from the victims of the Holocaust remain today. Auschwitz concentration camp is now a sort of mausoleum displaying the gas chambers that killed so many. Mass graves litter Europe, dug by prisoners and filled with their corpses. Victims can still recite the story of the horrors they encountered in these camps. To deny something that is so palpably shown and to teach children that the Holocaust is a conspiracy is to deny their right to the truth, a basic human right. It is also to deny the Jewish community (and many other communities) the right to recognition for the many members they lost in the Holocaust.

My city of Spokane, Washington is small in the eyes of the world, as mere 200,000 people within the city limits, with no major industries. It will not be found on most maps of the world, unless they are singularly detailed. Yet to say that one city or one person cannot change the world would be incorrect. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Our community is minute, but we can use equally undersized steps to begin altering the world and recognizing the victims of the Holocaust. Small things such as honoring surviving members and their descendants, learning about traditions of Judaism and other world religions or customs can all open eyes to the lives of those around you. Perhaps we shall never reach that utopian society that we dream of, but striving for that ideal with even the smallest steps, such as respecting other ways of life, or larger ones such as accepting an event that you have denied for years can help us get a little bit closer to that which, as a leader of this world, you along with so many must others strive for; to make the world a better place for everyone no matter their race, their gender, or their religion.

Most respectfully,

Julia M. Wing


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