Holocaust Memorial Day
One of the most shocking periods in human history was the Holocaust. It is estimated that over 6 million people lost their lives due to hatred and prejudice.
I have long been interested in history so when the chance arose to hear the testimony of a survivor from this era, I felt the need to bear witness. On the 26th of January 2021, myself and fifty thousand others across the country, were given the immense privilege to hear the testimony of the brave and incredible Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler. Now aged 90, she was a girl of 7 during the rise of anti-semitic actions across Germany.
Eve’s most remarkable story tells of how herself, her mother, father and two sisters survived the harrowing persecution of the Jewish community led by the Nazis. Her family were torn from each other, Eve’s mother and father put into concentration camps, her younger sister taken by the French Resistance and put into hiding at a catholic church while Eve and her older sister Ruth were given Visas, on account of other children at the time being too ill to travel. From there, Eve and Ruth were split up, spending five years in America going between numerous foster parents, until in 1946, whereby some miracle, her family were reunited.
Following Germanys defeat in World War One the treaty of Versailles was signed, in which Germany was forced to accept full responsibility, pay reparations to the Allied forces of 132 billion marks, which in today’s money is £284 billion. In addition to this, they suffered massive demilitarisation only allowing 100,000 foot soldiers, no air force or tanks and only six battleships. Lastly the dissolution of the German empire, which saw territory control on their borders and overseas stripped from them and taken by the Allies.
While reporting on a far right occult society, a young and vengeful Hitler, finds himself enthralled by the talks of antisemitic group, the National Socialist German Workers society outraged by the sanctions imposed on Germany. Corporal Adolf Hitler found his own beliefs in tune with the far right ideals this society held. Twinned with hatred from the humiliation the allies had put onto Germany, this started the dark path of his ambitious rise to becoming the Fuhrer of Germany. In March 1933, he achieved this goal and with such power he pushed back against the treaty of Versailles, eventually triggering the Second World War in September of 1939.
The horrors of what the Nazis called The Final Solution was a plan for mass genocide of the Jewish community and those the Nazis felt were ‘unworthy’. The plan was to murder eleven million. By the end of the Second World War, it is estimated that just over six million were killed at the hands of the Nazi death camps.
Unfortunately, not all families were as lucky as Eve’s, either only one family member survived this ordeal or none survived, which is why it is vital that we never forget what happened. Furthermore, we need to carry their testimonies of the singular and most atrocious genocide in recorded history to future generations, so we do not make the same mistakes, ever again. It has touched me deeply as an individual and it impacts every living soul in each generation.
The global Jewish population in 2019 is still 15 million lower than in 1939.
80 years on, from the time of that report, the world still hasn’t recovered from the brutal genocide of the Nazi regime.
"In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit."
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank
- Holocaust Memorial Day Trust 2021.
~ Ryan B Eagle