27 January 2017
Tim Koch writes:
Since 2001, every 27 January is marked as Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in the United Kingdom. It is a national commemoration day dedicated to remembering those who suffered under the Nazis in The Holocaust and it also remembers the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Since 2005, the United Nations has declared 27 January International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To mark the day in 2015, I published a piece on HTBS titled “A Poignant Piece of Rowing History: Jewish Rowing Clubs in Nazi-Germany”. In the introduction I wrote:
What I have produced is probably full of inaccuracies and misunderstandings and certainly is nowhere near ‘the whole story’. However, rather than remaining in obscurity, I think it is important that some version of the story of the ‘Jüdischer Ruder-Clubs’ should be made more widely known. That they existed at all before 1933 is interesting; that they continued to exist (and for a time grow) in the first five years of Nazi rule, 1933–1938, is difficult to comprehend. Worldwide, a huge effort has and is been made to ensure that all aspects of Jewish life that were wiped out by the Holocaust are not forgotten and this is my small and no doubt rather inadequate contribution to this.
The piece produced a large and positive response. In the comment section I later wrote:
Thank you all for you kind comments. The post has attracted an above average number of views and generated a lot of Twitter traffic. Initially, I was worried that producing something that links something as important as The Holocaust with something as minor as rowing history could be considered crass. I continued for two reasons. If any part of what the Nazis tried to erase forever is actually forgotten, it is a victory for them. Also, as something as terrible as genocide is impossible for most of us to comprehend, our only chance of some understanding is to relate it to things within our own experience. For example, we cannot conceive of the deaths of six million people but we can empathise with the loss of one person, Anne Frank.
Click on the link to read my original 2015 piece on Jewish Rowing Clubs in Nazi-Germany here.
In an increasingly intolerant world, perhaps we should use Holocaust Memorial Day to remind ourselves of the most obscene example of what can happen when it becomes acceptable to dismiss people who are apparently different from ourselves?