I don’t want to think about what happened at the Auschwitz death camp, nor any of the other horrors of the Holocaust. But, I also know the importance of never forgetting. My heart breaks into a million pieces when I read personal accounts from a rare survivor, or see a graphic black & white photo from those dark, almost incomprehensible, days of history. This week we are asked to remember, as the world commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“If they pointed left, you went to the gas chambers and crematorium. If they pointed to the right, you became a slave. We were sent to the right, but I never saw my father or brother Nikolai again.
“…I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Germans tried to kill the entire Jewish people but they failed. I am alive. I am here.”
Renee Ganz, Auschwitz Survivor – USA Today
So few of our Greatest Generation remain to tell their first-hand accounts of life and death during World War II. My own grandfather and grandmother, heroic veterans of that era have now passed on. Their stories are forever treasured in my heart. But, perhaps even more important to them than preserving their stories, is ensuring that their legacy lives on – that their fight for peace was not in vain.
“As I recall, we were often told during the course of World War II that we were fighting a war to end all wars. As I view the world scene today, it seems that very little has changed since the end of the war. In the name of nationalism, religion, political affiliation, greed, racial superiority, economics, or various combinations thereof, innocent people around the world are still being killed, kidnapped or brutalized on a daily basis. And so it shall ever be.”
– From Memoirs of Felix L. Sparks, Brigadier General, AUS (ret) – The first Allied officer to enter Dachau concentration camp and liberate its prisoners
It may be true that we cannot end all of the evil in this world. We know from both scripture and living prophets that Satan and his forces will rage on and wreak havoc until that bright day when Christ, the Prince of Peace, comes again to rule and reign.
And yet, we need not give in to despair!
Even though we may not be able to change the entire world, we can change each piece of the world we touch. We have an opportunity to make a difference in spreading peace every single day. It’s in the way we choose to interact with all of the people we come in contact with. We can choose to smile, to act more courteously, to speak words of kindness. We can choose to give the benefit of the doubt, not be offended easily, avoid leaping to conclusions or passing judgement. We can choose to foster compassion and to give and receive forgiveness. And then, we can choose to always teach the children in our lives – by our words and our deeds – these vital lessons of humanity. So that they, too, can become powerful peace-filled ambassadors.
Yes, Peace on Earth is possible. It begins right here, right now, with you and me.
It begins in our hearts. – MoSop
Let There Be Peace On Earth – The Mormon Tabernacle Choir with soloist Erin Morley