I am inspired by the horrifically fascinating accounts of the survivors of the Holocaust.
As we approach the 72nd Anniversary of these tragic events, though not a milestone anniversary, it is still important to keep in mind certain things about history as we approach the new year.
In America, the first thing we learn about WWII, the first things we learn about Hitler's murderous and blood-thirsty regime, the devastating genocide, and the mass mourning that covered the world in a sheet of desolation is that, quite ironically, "It was bad". The simplicity of that statement can quite possibly represent the minute amount of knowledge the world has on the complexity of Hitler's plot of world domination, according to his belief of "natural" selection. However, America mostly focuses on the last remaining survivors of the Holocaust that live in the USA; not other countries. The only issue with this is that many of the most inviting and influential stories come from people living all around the world.
Books and movies such as The Diary of Anne Frank, Man's Search for Meaning, Schindler's List (book and film), Night, Sarah's Key, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (book and film), The Book Thief (book and film), and my personal favorite, Hana's Suitcase,* all tell stories of survivors and victims from other countries. Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Amsterdam, Germany.
I believe that what we learn from these stories is good. Not for the “Social Darwinism” type effect that they have on the world, and not the promotion of murderous maniacal behavior, but for the purpose of understanding history. People think that history repeats itself, and there isn't anything you can do about it. Yet, I know that people can understand history and by doing so, can inhibit an instant replay that no one wants to watch. Instead, I believe that such heinous acts of hate encourage us to love, encourage us to bring about peace. These elicit the compassion that is undistinguished in each of us. Not only this, but they allow us to remember, maybe one year, maybe two years, maybe 70 years after the fact, that every person is valuable. Especially, that each devastating atrocity that could possibly happen can definitely be prevented, with the knowledge of the past.
*There are many other Holocaust books a good site to find a list of these is the following: http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/holocaust