28 Jan We Don’t Get To Forget
Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I never thought much about the Holocaust growing up. My grandparents came to America early in the 20th century. I lost distant cousins that I never knew. I never knew a survivor until 1986 and she scared me.
I was working with Jews for Jesus at the time in Boston. Nobel Laureate and concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel was speaking. Our team set up a literature table on the street outside campus. When the lecture was over people were streaming out and many passed our table. We were offering Bibles and literature. An elderly women approached and I saw the numbers on her arm. She looked up at me and said, “You have nothing to say to me.” I was frightened and my tongue was tied. She walked away. I have thought of her many times over the years. I though of her yesterday when I was shocked to read in the Canadian Jewish News and other media outlets the following sickening statistics:
- more than half – 54% – of all respondents did not know that six-million Jews perished in the Holocaust; among millennials and members of generation Z (aged 18 to 34), it was 62%
- 15% of Canadian adults have not heard of, or are not sure if they have heard of, the Holocaust; while the figure for the same question rose to 22% for millennials and generation Z
- more than half of millennials – 52% – cannot name a single concentration camp or war-era Jewish ghetto
- 23% of Canadians believe that “substantially” fewer than six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, while 24% are unsure of how many were killed; approximately one-quarter think that fewer than two million died
It is difficult to describe the combination of dread and hurt that crept into my heart. I am Jewish. I don’t get to forget and neither do you. The Body of Christ doesn’t get to forget. We grapple with how we – as bringers of Hope and The Gospel – approach the subject of the Holocaust with the necessary sobriety while we stand on a Cornerstone of grace and forgiveness. May He give the ambassadors of the New Covenant much wisdom at this season of commemoration.
Written by Andrew Barron, Canadian Director
Photo by Moritz Schumacher on Unsplash