Auschwitz was liberated 72 years ago on this day (in 1945), yet there are still people that refute the fact that concentration and death camps existed, despite survivors who bear the physical and mental scars. Those involved in the death camps have been tried and convicted too, and the Holocaust did happen—it’s not an alternative truth. Soldiers who liberated the camp, still are alive and tell their first hand accounts of what they found; people dying while the Nazis had fled, and tried to destroy evidence of their misdeeds.
The remnants of Auschwitz have been given UNESCO World Heritage Site status, to serve as a reminder that this should never happen again. Yet, while people wish to deny historical facts with evidence, one must question why. The facts are undisputed with remnants of mass graves found, gas chambers, and survivors who bear the mark of a number on their skin.
Today is a remembrance day for those who were murdered, whose bodies were burned or tossed in a mass grave, and the actual death toll will never be truly known, except that it is in the millions. While the primary premise of the day is to reaffirm the necessity of human rights, there are basic human rights and extended rights. Sadly people have taken to abusing the concept of human rights to fight their legal cases. When there is no law that can help them, they resort to a breach of human rights, which is not what the concept was for.
Human rights exist to protect those who have been exploited or abused by a body for their own gain. I recall one such incident where an Australian family was denied indefinite leave to remain by UK immigration because the mother’s student visa had expired and she could not secure work for the correct paperwork. Their son (an infant) spoke Gaelic at school, and they claimed it was a breach of human rights to remove him to a country where it wasn’t spoken. Deaths in concentration camps as a breach of human rights doesn’t compare to a child who has learnt another language while living in another country, and those people should be ashamed to even try to use that phrase to plead their case or actions.
The world is not free of war and while human atrocities still continue, in the modern world, those who do not experience things first hand can be removed from reality, and think it’s not their problem. This is an issue that concerns all aspects of society and humanity. The Holocaust arose from discrimination and prejudices, which sadly still exists today although there are now enforceable laws that protect people. Whether it be prejudices from religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, or gender based inequalities, some countries permit this culturally, and perhaps some governments turn a blind eye to it. Recently, the newly elected President of the USA has been seen and heard making racial slurs and discriminatory remarks, and sadly this encourages the debase actions of others who assume that if a world leader can say and think these things, then it’s permissible. It isn’t and today we remember the innocent people who lost their lives for no other reason than being victims of discrimination and prejudice.
World peace may be in the far distant future, but each of us can help by halting discrimination and prejudices, and not to turn a blind eye to things. That doesn’t mean everyone must protest, but to stand up for the rights of those being exploited, and educate those who do discriminate.