Holocaust Memorial Day 2009

Today, 27 January, marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp.

That was sixty-four years ago.

Time is passing.

I was listening to Good Morning Sunday on Radio 2 on Sunday, and one of Aled Jones’s guests was Rabbi Pete Tobias who spoke movingly about the Holocaust and seemed to say that the need to commemorate the Holocaust is increasing as time goes on, not decreasing in line with the decreasing number of survivors, as they pass on to join the spirits of the fifteen million murdered by the Nazis as part of their “Final Solution”.

He read a message penned by a French Rabbi to the Last Survivor but I have been unable to find a copy online. So I’ve transcribed it via Radio 2’s “listen again” function:

To whoever is going to be the last survivor, where ever you may be, whenever that may be, I shall be there with you, the last survivor.

Because you will be the last survivor, I shall be there, I promise you.

I promise to be the memory of your memory.

I promise that what you have endured will not be erased from the human conscience.

I promise you this ultimate justice: that neither your name nor your suffering shall be permitted to vanish from world history.

You were one man, one woman, but it is as if you had been one suffering humanity.

And because you will be the last, it will be my duty to take over your martyrdom, as one takes over in a relay, not in order to relive it, but to relate it for all time, to bear witness before history in order that criminals shall no longer be absolved, to teach children that having become adults, they may build a society concious of its past and resolutely turned towards a future of justice, love and peace.

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