Never again, right?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 28, 2019

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Submitted: January 28, 2019

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Yesterday, on January 27th was the Holocaust Memorial Day, dedicated to remembering the people who died during the World War Two era in the hands of Nazis. It's not only in rememberance of the Jews that died, but also Slavs, Poles, Romanis and homosexuals, among others as well. The day is 27th of January, because in 19945 that day, the Red Army liberated probably the most well-known symbol of the Holocaus, Auschwitz-Birkenau. While the day firstly promotes the memory of the genocides in Nazi Germany, it is a day to also remember other genocides like the Great Terror by Stalin just before the Second World War.

I'm not Jewish but I've always learnt about their history and the Holocaus, for example. That is mostly due to my mother having lived in Israel as a child, because her father was a UN Peacekeeper in Israel. She loves the placeand it's like her second home country. I only personally know one Jew, mostly because there are about 1500 Jews in Finland and most live in cities that I don't. Their histroy is interesting, and something everyone should understand as well, especially when it comes to the Holocaust.

I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau last April when our high school made a four-day trip to Krakow. I had never been to Poland and I absolutely loved the country: it was warm there, considering when we left Finland it was freezing outside and in Krakow you could go outside in a hoodie, the people were nice and it was very cheap. Plus they sold smokes to underage people like me and most my friends. Overall, Krakow was a beautiful city with interesting histroy and amazing culture. The only issue was that the language went over my head and I didn't learn a word. 

When we actually made an almost day-long trip to the concentration/death camp, we all kind of expected there to be a moment when everyone wants to cry or something. We,  being sarcastic teenagers, made a lot of dark humored jokes about the whole ordeal, like me and my friend starting up a crematory business and only hiring Jews. The guide we had was amazing. She had grown up in Krakow and could tell a lot of interesting stories and how she had been taught about the Holocaust when she was our age. It was a lot different from what we read in history books, and she said one of her teachers had actually been a prisoner at the camp. The two different camps we visited, were both interesting in different ways. The most memorable things everyone in our group experienced was standing in the gas chamber and looking at the wall, where you could see scratch marks from where people had tried to get out. Another thing everyone rememberd later was a room with tons of human hair. It was gross but then again, very memorable.

After the tour we went to the small town right next to Auschwitz and it was a shock. The town was painted with happy colors. All the buildings were pink or yellow and the carbage bins were colored with neon green. Probably that was due to the place having such a dark history, but it was a weird contrast. We went to a restaurant in that town, with a three-meal course and finally free WiFi that we all had been waiting for, and that's when it all kind of hit us. I was sitting with our geography teacher and two of my friends, and we all kind of felt bad because there we were, stuffing our faces and people had died of hunger just a few miles from there. Then we talked about how everyone always says that humanity should never repeat its mistakes and this should never happen again. 

Then we talked about how it's still happening around the world. But unlike maybe in Nazi Germany, and Poland, we all know about it, you can Google all this anytime, yet people still sit idly by. China and North Korea have been accused of incarcerating political prisoners for years, and it's still going on. Especially an ethnic minority called Uighurs are Muslims in China that have been detained and sent to "re-education camps". What about Russia discriminating LGBT people and banning gay people from getting a driver's license? What will that lead to?

It's good that we are remembering our past and wanting to better ourselves as humans, but we can't forget that there are still people all around the world being persecuted because of their ethnicity, opinion or identity. It's sad that that's happening, but it's even more sad to see how we know about these things, yet most of do nothing about it.


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