By Lauren Cohen
Yesterday, people across the globe came together to mourn the lives of those lost on the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust. The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was liberated by the Soviet Red Army on Jan. 27, 1945 and became a symbol of Nazi Germany’s systematic murder of an estimated six million Jews — around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population.
It is estimated that 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz. Those who died there included around 960,000 Jews, 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Romani people, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans. Prisoners who were not gassed in chambers died of starvation, exhaustion, disease, individual executions, beatings, or were killed during medical experiments.
May we never forget the six million Jews and countless others murdered by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. We remember the Jews, the Afro-Germans, the gays, Romani, the disabled, and all who were deemed as impure for the Aryan race. We mourn those who we lost on a personal level, and those who we never shared moments with but whose stories have been imprinted within our hearts. We mourn those who lost their lives due to fascist and anti-semitic regimes. We mourn those who lived in fear of being thrown into a gas chamber and sent to die. We mourn.
There will be no end to this tragedy, as this genocide ripped our hearts in half and damaged our souls. We stand here today remembering these lives ripped apart and we understand that we are not yet fully liberated. We watch the rise of anti-semitism within this world and we fear. We should not have to live in fear any longer. We must honor those lost lives by fighting anti-semitism and other forms of hatred daily. I refuse to let these souls be forgotten. Fight intolerance with your Jewish brothers and sisters before it’s too late. To this day, anti-semites outnumber the Jewish people. To become complacent is to become complicit. Never forget and never stop fighting.