If you have never visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., you have not seen first-hand how prejudice and discrimination can escalate into something horrific and evil.
Once you are inside, it is a somber mood, as the crowds make their way through the authentic film footage, artifacts, photographs and documents that mirror what life was like in pre-war Europe, the Nazi move toward the “Final Solution” and life after the Holocaust. This is not for the faint hearted. You can spend two to three hours in this self-guided exhibition and it is recommended for visitors 11 years of age and older.
There are different estimates of deaths during the Holocaust because not only did the national borders during the Holocaust change, but many of the victims simply were never recorded. In the eastern European regions, millions of Poles -- Jews and Catholics alike -- were murdered by the Secret Service and police personnel in the field or in killing centers such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka. In the ideology of the Nazis, the Poles were considered an inferior "race."
It is estimated that number of Jewish fatalities during the Holocaust is usually given as between 5.1 and 6 million victims.
It is estimated that between 5 and 5.5 million Polish civilians, including 3 million Polish Jews, died or were killed under Nazi occupation. Poland lost one-fifth of its population: three million of the dead were Polish Christians, predominantly Catholic, and the rest were Polish Jews.
Many people were killed trying to hide or help people escape concentration camps and executions.
Why? What was the Holocaust and why did it happen: The Holocaust is the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims -- six million were murdered; Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), people with mental and physical disabilities, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi Germany. Ref: http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/details.php?lang=en&topic=01#01
Does this boggle your mind as it does mine? All these people executed because of who they were and what they believed in? So how does peace start with You, and You, and You and You?
You can see above what happens when a people decide that they are going to annihilate people that don't think, live, believe or act like they do. They were people, with families, with normal lives going about the business of making a living and loving and caring for their family. And because of discrimination, profiling, intolerance and persecution, innocent people like you and me were executed. It can happen with a government that tries to think, guide and change you into how they want you to be for their end.
I don't know the intricacies of what and how these seeds of discontent against others first materialized into what they did. Perhaps because people who were different from those in charge behaved differently, believed differently and acted differently. Or perhaps the end product was the emergence of a possible super race and any abnormalities had to be exterminated. We can't ever let his happen again. Is not our world leaning this way again?
Is not today's world filled with people who are all very different; they behave differently, believe differently and act differently from how we do? Aren't our all our countries a matrix of different countries, languages, religions, customs, lifestyles, and even countenances different from one another?
It would be easy to point out the differences, make fun of the language or customs and shun their religion and lifestyles. It could be just as easy to accept and respect people for who they are and learn from their diversity of ideas and values.
We are all different from different worlds and walks of life, but there is one sameness we all have. We are all created by God and made in His likeness. There is no discrimination in His eyes; He loves each and every one of us the same. We are all equal, all races, all creeds, all people, men and women.
Peace can start with you by treating everyone as your equal. There are no class, caste, or standards of living in God's eyes.
There are websites with Q&A relating to the Holocaust http://www.ushmm.org/research/library/faq/details.php?lang=en&topic=03#02
Marie Coppola Revised February 2017©