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Thought for the Day - Rabbi Fishel Cohen

Thought for the Day: Holocaust Memorial Day



Hello, I am Fishel Cohen and welcome to a Thought for the Day.

This Wednesday 27th of January is Holocaust Memorial Day. To mark this day I would like to share with you the address that the former Chief Rabbi, the late Lord Sacks gave for last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

“Time and again the Bible uses the word Zachor, remember; and that’s what we do today on International Holocaust Memorial Day. We remember the victims of the Holocaust as well as victims of other tragedies human beings have inflicted on one another.

Why is it important to remember?

Because memory of the evils of the past is the best way of avoiding evils in the future. We can’t bring the dead back to life, but we can ensure that they didn’t die in vain. Those who forget may repeat. Those who remember know that we have to find another way. One of the greatest privileges of my life has been coming to know Holocaust survivors. Most of them lost their families and so they became a family to one another. They helped one another live through the trauma, the loss of all they knew and loved. They’d walked each one of them, through the valley of the shadow of death, yet never have I met people with such a tenacious hold on life. What I found most moving was the way in recent years they’ve shared their memories with others, especially with young people, the builders of our future. I can hardly begin to understand the courage it takes to relive the pain of those nightmare years. Yet they have done so, not in hate or bitterness or anger, but the opposite. What they’ve wanted to say is, don’t take freedom for granted, cherish it. Don’t take prejudice for granted, challenge it. Don’t stand by in the face of violence and hate, defend the defenceless and show them that they are not alone. Evil happens when people let it happen and our best defence against it is never to forget where evil leads.

That’s why International Holocaust Memorial Day was established and why today, 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we remember what once was and pray for the strength to ensure that never may such things happen again.”