Holocaust

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Look and listen as they walk towards dark flames so gigantic that the planet itself seemed in danger. ~ Elie Wiesel

The Holocaust refers to the systematic, state-sponsored killing of millions of Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, Romani people and others by Nazi Germany during World War II.

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  • Complain, complain, that's all you've done ever since we lost,
    If it's not the crucifixion then it's the holocaust.
  • ... in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again.
  • I have concluded that one way to pay tribute to those we loved who struggled, resisted and died is to hold on to their vision and their fierce outrage at the destruction of the ordinary life of their people. It is this outrage we need to keep alive in our daily life and apply it to all situations, whether they involve Jews or non-Jews. It is this outrage we must use to fuel our actions and vision whenever we see any signs of the disruptions of common life: the hysteria of a mother grieving for the teenager who has been shot; a family stunned in front of a vandalized or demolished home; a family separated, displaced; arbitrary and unjust laws that demand the closing or opening of shops and schools; humiliation of a people whose culture is alien and deemed inferior; a people left homeless without citizenship; a people living under military rule. Because of our experience, we recognize these evils as obstacles to peace. At those moments of recognition, we remember the past, feel the outrage that inspired the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and allow it to guide us in present struggles.
  • Auschwitz existed within history, not outside of it. The main lesson I learned there is simple: We Jews should never, ever become like our tormentors ...

    Since 1967 it has become obvious that political Zionism has one monolithic aim: Maximum land in Palestine with a minimum of Palestinians on it. This aim is pursued with an inexcusable cruelty as demonstrated during the assault on Gaza. The cruelty is explicitly formulated in the Dahiye doctrine of the military and morally supported by the Holocaust religion.

    I am pained by the parallels I observe between my experiences in Germany prior to 1939 and those suffered by Palestinians today. I cannot help but hear echoes of the Nazi mythos of "blood and soil" in the rhetoric of settler fundamentalism which claims a sacred right to all the lands of biblical Judea and Samaria. The various forms of collective punishment visited upon the Palestinian people -- coerced ghettoization behind a "security wall"; the bulldozing of homes and destruction of fields; the bombing of schools, mosques, and government buildings; an economic blockade that deprives people of the water, food, medicine, education and the basic necessities for dignified survival -- force me to recall the deprivations and humiliations that I experienced in my youth. This century-long process of oppression means unimaginable suffering for Palestinians.

  • Close your eyes and listen. Listen to the silent screams of terrified mothers, the prayers of anguished old men and women. Listen to the tears of children. Jewish children, a beautiful little girl among them, with golden hair, whose vulnerable tenderness has never left me. Look and listen as they walk towards dark flames so gigantic that the planet itself seemed in danger.
    • Elie Wiesel, From an address given at Auschwitz in occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Holocaust, Jan. 1995.
  • What is abnormal is that I am normal. That I survived the Holocaust and went on to love beautiful girls, to talk, to write, to have toast and tea and live my life — that is what is abnormal.
    • Elie Wiesel, After being asked "What does it take to be normal again, after having your humanity stripped away by the Nazis?" in an interview in O : The Oprah Magazine Nov. 2000.
  • The duty of the survivor is to bear testimony to what happened . . . You have to warn people that these things can happen, that evil can be unleashed. Race hatred, violence, idolatries—they still flourish.

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