Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Lest we forget…

The Holocaust was the systematic, state-organized persecution and murder of at least six million Jews – as well as other targeted groups – by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.  They slaughtered two-thirds of Europe’s Jews and one-third of the world’s Jewish population.  In addition, Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies destroyed  millions of other defenseless people, including Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), Polish citizens, Soviet prisoners of war, homosexuals, the handicapped, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other political and religious dissidents within Germany itself.

The Camps
I never saw the blood,
Like a river of red coursing through the countryside,
I never smelled the smoke, thrust from the chimney,
Its stench nauseating and suffocating.
I never heard the tortured cries of pain, terror and despair,
But I visited the camp,
Its scarf of barbed wire encircling the ghosts within.
I looked into the tiny black holes,
Where life had survived without light.
I listened to stories,
And was told tales of a truly terrible time.

But now,

When I breathe the air, it is fresh and clean,
As if all had been a gruesome nightmare.
Yet the memories are fresh scars on the souls of the survivors,
And the lesson they lived is their testament,
A lesson too terrifying to repeat,
Which the world must never forget.