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NEWS | April 17, 2018

Living in fear

By Senior Airman Rosemary Cool 633rd Air Base Wing Command Post

    Most people wake up every morning with a list of things they need to accomplish at work or errands they need to run before they can relax at the end of the day. Imagine waking up every morning in hiding and afraid. Imagine waking up every morning only to remember you’re in a concentration camp because of your religion, race, political opinion or sexual orientation. Imagine waking up every morning surrounded by people who hate you and are waiting to walk you to your death. These mornings you imagined were realities for so many different groups of people in Europe during the Holocaust.

    When Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany, he started off slowly pushing the idea of the pure German race. Those who did not fit that idea were deemed racially inferior. The Jewish were the most systematically persecuted. Anti-Jewish propaganda was spread throughout Germany. German Jewish people were forced to wear the Star of David so they could be easily identified. Eventually, the German Jewish people were forced out of their country. Jewish men, women and children were moved to ghettos in occupied Poland or to killing camps. Between 1933 and 1945, six million European Jews were killed.

    Hundreds of thousands of other “racially inferior” people were also murdered in concentration camps. These concentration camps were places where people were forced to work or be killed. Those who could work were given so little food that many died of starvation. Those that did survive until close to the end of the war were moved via train or forced to march so that they could not be liberated by Allied forces moving across Europe. These marches continued until Germany’s military surrendered in 1945.

    The Holocaust is an event in history that is hard to forget. The horrors that the victims and survivors lived through haunt the pages of history textbooks across the world. The Diary of Anne Frank is taught across the country giving young adolescents the perspective of a 13-year-old girl living with the fear of being caught by Nazis every moment of every day. Terrified not only for herself but also for her family and friends. An adolescent should have been worried about not finishing a homework assignment or what shirt to wear Friday. She should not have had to worry about if she and her family would make it another day.

    As citizens of this world, it is imperative that we remember the lives that were forever changed and the lives that ended too soon because of this genocide. As George Santayana said: “Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” Let us remember together at the Holocaust Memorial Remembrance Week between April 23 and 30.

    Installation Tickets and Travel will also be sponsoring a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., April 28. The trip will leave from the Community Commons at 7 a.m. and return at 5 p.m. Contact ITT for more information at (757)764-7176.