Auschwitz Tattoo
Above: Inmate number 1-9-9-6 was among the few Roma to survive Auschwitz. The Nazis didn’t bother to tattoo an ID number on Antonin Hlavacek’s arm. Romani children, like the elderly, weren’t meant to live long, so his number was written in ink. (source)

January 27 is the International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust. It is forgotten far too often that holocaust does not only refer to the atrocities suffered by the Jewish people during WWII.

Rejecting any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, the General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution (A/RES/60/7) condemning “without reserve” all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, whenever they occur.

It decided that the United Nations would designate 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp – as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust, and urged Member States to develop educational programmes to instil the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again, and requested the United Nations Secretary-General to establish an outreach programme on the “Holocaust and the United Nations”, as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help prevent future acts of genocide. (source)

It seems therefore appropriate that we should take a good look at the world as it is now and judge whether people learned from the horrendous lessons of both world wars and the too many occasions thereafter when entire nations were/are targeted and denied their basic rights.

Violence begets violence. The world forgot the words it once uttered: Never Again! Remember! Before it’s too late.

I dedicate this blog entry to my grandfather’s sister. While he was out there fighting the occupation forces in Slovenia, she was taken to Auschwitz. She was not a Jew, she was not Roma, she was simply the sister of a man who would not bow to the territory-hungry aggressor who’d tried to make his Slovenian family deny its roots and turn its members into his nationally correct citizens. Aunt Pavla survived and as, unlike the Roma above, she was deemed worth a tattoo, she can still show her camp number to the younger generations. I would have liked to add: lest we forget. But honestly, so many other horrors have been committed by and upon humanity since and are in progress now that nobody walking the Earth with open eyes could or should possibly let it slip from mind.