The 27th January is marked around the world as the date when we reflect on the obscenity of the holocaust. Some might think we should let the past remain in the past and quietly put this chapter, in German and European history, to bed. There is after all a new Germany, built on democracy and freedom. There has to be some sympathy for this point of view as those alive in modern Germany today are not the monsters who perpetrated the holocaust but there cannot be acceptance of it if we are to avoid the same blasphemy occurring again. The German population, for one reason or another, went along with what was going on, first in their own country with the persecution and ultimately the deportation of their Jewish neighbours, then in the lands they occupied. Many would not have known but they must have asked, “Why are we persecuting these people who are our neighbours, our intellectuals, our doctors, teachers our friends?” They didn’t, the majority of them that is, because they were afraid to speak out.
Any society which makes a scapegoat of any group within it is one that has lost the right to be called civilised. After all, a measure of how civilised we are is how we treat those who are minorities, “Those who are foreigners in our midst, those without a voice” as Holy Scripture declares. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism gives evidence to that doctrine, “wha’s like us”, is a pernicious wicked thing. Wherever people legitimise their persecution of another group in society, either by invoking God or the ‘name of the state’, then there, they have become corrupt. The date (27th. Jan) will have passed before you read this but take time to reflect upon the sin of those who define themselves against others because those who do, without too much imagination, then demonise those who differ. When we do that we have lost any claim to being a moral, civilised society.