Mandan News

Holocaust Remembrance

Just my thoughts,
By Dustin White

On Monday, April 28, the world observes the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It has been around seven decades after the events of the Holocaust finally ended. Even though so much time has passed, the effects of that horrific ordeal can still be felt to this day. For many, it changed everything. It brought into question the idea of suffering.

Today, I don’t think that question has gotten any closer to being answered. Many have tried to tackle it, from both religious and secular views. Ultimately though, the answer is one that continues to evade.

Having spend a good deal of time studying this search, there have been a few views that stuck out. Particularly, Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning,” idea has been quite persuasive for me.

While Frankl does not actually answer the question as to why people suffer, he believes that suffering does not necessarily have to be negative. Instead, one has the ability to take a moment of suffering, and give it meaning.

For me, this reasoning has had a profound impact. We have all experienced some wort of suffering. While it may not be as serious as what those who experienced the Holocaust went through, it still is suffering. By finding meaning in it though, the suffering takes on a whole different form. It can become a positive experience.

At the same time though, suffering allows for growth, as well as insight. It can be a learning experience. By opening our eyes to atrocities, it can force people to try to better the world because of what they have experienced. When the world became aware of the Holocaust, many people were shocked and vowed that never again should such an atrocity be allowed to take place.

Sadly, sometimes suffering, for various individuals, only leads to more negative. Throughout the decades following the Holocaust, various groups have experienced their own genocides. Often, the world just looked on by; turning a blind eye to the horrors that were affecting others.

Even here in the United States, people have not been completely innocent. Throughout U.S. history, populations have been subjected to subjugation, as well as extermination. The treatment of Native Americans throughout much of our countries history is a prime example of this.

Often, such atrocities are easier to forget or excuse in some manner. Yet, we don’t have to do such. Instead, I think we can learn from those instances. We can strive to rectify those wrongs, and makes sure that we do not go down those same paths.

I think that is what the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is truly about. We can’t do anything about the evil that has already been committed, but we can remember what has happened. In doing so, we can vow to not allow such to happen again.

This may be a little bit of wishful thinking, as suffering is going to continue. Bad things will happen, no matter how good a person is. Yet, I think vowing to prevent such events, even if one can not be 100 percent successful, can still be a benefit. While suffering will continue, trying to prevent such may just keep one person from having to be subjected to evil.

In the grand scheme of things, it may also prevent us, as a whole, from repeating the same atrocities that disfigure the past. It may also cause people to think twice before turning a blind eye to the suffering of others.

While we may not be able to completely change the world, I do think that we can help by putting things in motion. Hopefully, by us remembering the horrors of the past, many of us can get the motivation we need to do just that.