By Susan Suarez, Executive director, The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida
On Jan. 27, 1945, the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet forces. In 2005, the U.N. General Assembly proclaimed Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
More than 11 million people were killed in the Holocaust. The number is so large you lose sight of the individuals who make up that figure. Each life taken had its own story, family and a contribution to make to the world. Their loss is all the more staggering when you realize this.
All these Nazi victims had one thing in common – they were deemed to be “other,” different, not worthy of respect or empathy, less than human.
How could this have happened? This is the key question we help students and visitors to think about and understand in order to help prevent genocide today and in the future. The Holocaust followed a sequence seen in other genocides and ethnic cleansings – certain groups are singled out from the general population and targeted.
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