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A day worth commemorating

PUBLISHED: 11:30 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 06 July 2010

Lowestoft historian and author John Holmes gives his personal views on why it is important that the present generation learn the lessons from the horrors of the Holocaust.

Lowestoft historian and author John Holmes gives his personal views on why it is important that the present generation learn the lessons from the horrors of the Holocaust.

SINCE the ending of World War Two we have had annual Remembrance Services in memory of those who gave their lives for our freedom. In the Journal, December 4, Richard Wood informed us that the Holocaust is something that must be remembered. That Waveney District Council will be working in partnership with local schools and organisations to tell the story of how our region helped to house many Jewish refuges children 71 years ago. And that “Schools are to play a part in Holocaust Day events.”

In support of this forthcoming event I would like to contribute the following as I feel it is important that we know why the Holocaust happened as if we don't then it can so easily be repeated.

The following quote is from the Daily Mails book “Lest We Forget” and it is based on first hand evidence of those who visited the concentration camps and saw what had actually happened.

“The butcher's hooks, the ovens, the gas-chambers, the torture cells, the whipping posts were common to all camps.

But physical cruelty was not the worst that the Nazis gaolers did to the inmates. By mental torture they reduced them to a sub-human level where pity and mercy for one another were abandoned so that in the end the supreme horror of cannibalism was practised.

But we may ask why it was that these things became possible. What kind of men, and women, were they who could inflict such agony of mind and body upon others that they were brought to the condition of beasts - and who could take joy in such devil's work?

The answer is that they were men and women corrupted and debauched by a political system so depraved that it reckoned human life not only as cheap but as despicable, that it deliberately sacrificed the achievements of human reason in the pursuit of power, and that it sought to destroy Christian civilisation and to replace it by a dark band bloody paganism deriving directly from the savage tribes of ancient Germany.”

Eleven years after the war was over I was called up to do national service and joined the Royal Air Force. A year after this I was sent to Germany for two years.

Many of the German civilians employed on our camps had fought in the war and some informed me of their regret about this. They were quite genuine.

Occasionally I also came into contact with small groups of young Nazis and one such group open fired on me and my colleagues one night when we were leaving a club. However, I must say that my two years in Germany was a very happy experience and I was well treated by the bulk of the German people.

In concluding it was reported that Hitler stated that “Christianity is the invention of sick minds” and we now know that WW2 was as a result of his seeking to eliminate this perceived sickness.

Let us hope that future generations will continue to hold annual Services of Remembrance and Holocaust Day events to ensure that the cause of WW2 will not be repeated.


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