This past winter we marked the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the surviving prisoners who were held at Auschwitz. The Soviet soldiers who entered the camp saw a spectacle so powerful it still moves those affected to tears even now, two generations later. The truth slowly emerged of the horrors inflicted on a race of innocent people; inflicted by a group whose initial desire to simply better themselves slowly turned to murderous action through a process of simply allowing themselves one moral slip after another, all the while justifying each move as ‘necessary,’ and not taking the time to measure how far their values had shifted from the initial common concepts of right and wrong.
Just a few months ago I had the opportunity to read, for the first time, my Son, Brendan’s copy of Elie Weisel’s ‘Night.’ In those scant few pages–the book is very short–the author captures so powerfully the pain, the fear, the sorrow and the desperation felt by the unfortunate people swept up in the madness that culminated in Himmler’s so-called ‘final solution,’ that one cannot read it and remain unmoved. To say the least I was.
Sadly, history has managed to repeat many of those horrors, and seems prepared to continue to do so. Horrors that could be avoided if people, collectively, would only take the time, on a regular basis, to check and recalibrate their moral compasses. I suppose we can only hope.
Here is a link to a talk given, a few years ago by Elie Weisel. In it he describes some of his experiences, but, more importantly, he makes a powerful case for the need to promote the cause of world peace. If you have an hour take the time to listen.