It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended, and the world is beginning to forget the tragedies commited in Europe.  In memory of those who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Wasshington D.C. presents an excellent collection of artifacts and oral history.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived “racial inferiority”: Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals.

In 1981, the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors established a national registry to document the lives of survivors who came to the United States after World War II. In April 1993 the Registry was transferred to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Although most of the survivors who have registered live in North America, the Museum includes the names of survivors from all backgrounds living all over the world. The Registry now includes over 196,000 records related to survivors and their families.

Now, more than ever, with Islam claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ and details of the horrors of that time disappearing from our history books, it’s imperative that we each make sure the world never forgets. Visit the museum and its website, and pass on the links so others will have access to the facts of history.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: http://www.ushmm.org/

2009 U.S. DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE: http://www.ushmm.org/remembrance/dor/