While rioters and protesters in are hell bent on obliterating and even rewriting American history, survivors of the Holocaust have demonstrated that all history — good and bad — should be cherished, taught and preserved.
Since last week, Washington, D.C., Black Lives Matter protesters have demanded that the Emancipation Monument, depicting Abraham Lincoln and a freed slave, be dismantled.
Also last week Roman Catholics in St. Louis, Mo., were heckled and even beaten for vocally praying to keep a statue of St. Louis in place.
In contrast, every effort was made after World War II to preserve the Holocaust, beginning with the concentration camps known as Auschwitz, and “the earliest stewards of the site were former prisoners,” according to historian Jonathan Huener in his book, “Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration, 1945–1979.”
The book describes how Auschwitz was converted from the most infamous death camp of the Nazi regime to a memorial to preserve history.
“We did not know if we would survive, but one did speak of a memorial site,” wrote Kazimierz Smoleń, an Auschwitz survivor who later became the memorial site’s director. “One just did not know what form it would take.”
That history was also preserved in Washington, D.C., at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, established in 1993.
In January, the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, the few survivors still living cautioned the world that it must remember what had happened there.
Even those who couldn’t bring themselves to return until many decades later, now make the pilgrimage to inform others of the horrors that went on at Auschwitz. One of those is Janina Iwanska, now 89, who lives in Warsaw.
“Those children will grow up one day and they will be the ones deciding about how to rule the world,” she said, according to NPR.
“It is important [to talk about it] in order to develop the conviction that war is not a good thing, in order to seek peace and try to talk about it, in order to think that it is us who are responsible for this Earth and for passing it on, undamaged, to the next generations.”
Events here, however, have reached the point of absurdity, sometimes with the assistance of state and local governments.
Wednesday night rioters in Portland, Oregon, set a statue on fire that had stood since 1900. Nope, it didn’t depict a Confederate hero — it was the Thompson Elk. Yep, an animal.
Human Events managing editor Ian Miles Cheong described it with tongue firmly in cheek:
“The elk statue in Portland is burning,” he tweeted. “The elk owned slaves. This is how we end racism. Thank you Antifa.”
However, just as the rioters neither knew nor cared about history, they had the same attitude about the sciences. The elk statue was constructed of metal and concrete, so that “hateful symbol of oppression” wasn’t destroyed.
It was, however, damaged by the fire, to the extent that the city announced it will dismantle it altogether. As Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Doran would put it, “No justice, no elk.”
Moving to the Midwest, work crews dismantled a statue honoring Christopher Columbus early Wednesday morning, one that sat in front of the city hall — of Columbus, Ohio. And a Change.org petition is urging a name change — to Flavortown.
CBS affiliate WBNS 10 News reported that “the statue was a gift from the people of Genoa, Italy in 1955.”
The mayor of Columbus shouldn’t expect any more gifts from Genoa — just a hunch.
When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about mobs toppling statues, he said he was fine with it.
“I think it’s a healthy expression of people saying, ‘Let’s get some priorities here and let’s remember the sin and mistake that this nation made and let’s not celebrate it,'” he said.
The problem with that “logic” is that once the statue is removed, you don’t “remember the sin and mistake” — you assure that it will fade from memory.
As Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan stated in a recent Wall Street Journal commentary, “Even the Bible is full of flawed characters,” including St. Peter, “who denied even knowing the Lord when Jesus needed him most,” but nonetheless was appointed by Christ to lead his church.
Every person, every society, every nation has its flaws as well as its attributes. Each also has its triumphs as well as its failures. We should follow the lead of the survivors of Auschwitz by cherishing, remembering and learning from them.
In 2016 President Trump ran on the message, “Make America Great Again.” In 2020, it should be “Make America America Again.”
Author: Michael Dorstewitz
Source: News Max: Holocaust Survivors Got It Right: Preserve, Don’t Destroy History