Today is 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.
Members of my extended family (names now lost to history) and my husband’s extended family almost certainly were murdered there (or in other chambers of horror).
And their bodies burned.
Up in flames.
This is the pure and unadulterated evil that world swore it would never forget and never repeat.
But have we forgotten?
Have we forgotten the baseless hatred that can lead to such atrocities?
Have we forgotten the misuse of science to categorise and dehumanise others?
Have we forgotten that education and culture is no defence against evil? Evil can appear very civilised indeed.
We are now in the beginning of a new decade and antisemitism is again rearing its evil head across the world.
We are now in a world where to be religious, or to speak about God or religious principles is to be vilified, mocked.
We are now in a world where ‘science’ holds the arbitration of truth.
Yet science can never speak to ethics, morals and principles.
Science explains the world. Science allows us to manipulate and manage (or mismanage) the world – but it can never tell us how to act or be.
With the dissolution of society wide moral standards as derived from the Divinely decreed 10 Commandments, moral action is devolved to human reason at an individual level – and that scares me.
One man’s morality is another man’s evil.
Without an objective moral standard describing what ‘do not kill’ actually means (for example)- we can find all sorts of ways and justification for ending another’s life.
What the 10 Commandments represent is an objective moral standard for life. And it is slipping out of our fingers.
We are now in a bizarre space (in my view) where enormous human angst is expended regarding climate. We want to save the world and yet generations are insulting each other. People who do not ‘believe’ in climate change are the new heretics – and is seemingly acceptable to spew all sorts of volcanic hatred at such people. In headlines and social media commentary there are so many words of anger and hatred and mockery of anyone stepping out of an agreed line. This scares me.
With climate change in particular there is an unspoken undercurrent of population control. Will once again we face times where ‘acceptable’ means of reducing the world population becomes a new ‘final solution’ to a warming planet?
I feel faint at the thought – and we know science is not enough to stop it. The events of 75 years ago show that.
If we can’t find a way to embrace each other as humans with kindness, if we can only resolve our problems through hatred and division – then what sort of world are we even fighting for? Is a world of hatred worth saving?
In my view – shared humanity must come first – and then we can talk about the weather.
Now that we know so much about CO2 and how long it stays around – it is sobering to think that the CO2 released by burning Jewish bodies and other victims of the Holocaust is almost certainly still in our atmosphere warming the planet.
Let the warming of our planet be a perpetual sign to remember those who were lost – and to remember to work on solving problems of climate with love for one another.
May God have mercy on those who died sanctifying His name. May their memories be for a blessing.
May we feel the warmth of the world and remember them.
May we merit to see the Redemption Jews have yearned for for millenia. May we merit to see world peace – no more hatred. No more wars.
As we say in our daily prayers: May the Redeemer come unto Zion. Speedily in our days. Amen.