We need new ways to ensure our history is not forgotten

[From The Guardian]

1600The fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany and the countries it occupied seems far more vivid to me now than it did in the 1950s and 1960s, when the term concentration camps rather than the word Holocaust was used to describe their deliberate elimination – as though it were barbed wire and overcrowding rather than gas and shooting that had killed them. For this I have to credit a wide range of books and films – from Art Spiegelman’s graphic memoir, Maus, to Claude Lanzmann’s 10-hour documentary, Shoah – and also, I suppose, the general feeling that produced these works: that the horror needed to be understood in its intimate particulars, which the passage of time had made us readier to see and hear.

To me, as I suspect to many others, the idea that those events could be mislaid by the public memory seems impossible. Nevertheless, this week Prince Charles told the charity World Jewish Relief, in what was seen as a criticism of Donald Trump’s refugee policy, that the work of “reaching beyond your own community” was particularly valuable “at a time when the horrific lessons of the last war seem to be in increasing danger of being forgotten”.

Meanwhile the Trump administration came under more direct attack, from the scholar Deborah Lipstadt, who said the new regime was “flirting with Holocaust denial” by failing to mention in a statement issued to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Dayon 27 January that Jews were the principal victims.

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