As a child traveling in Europe, I met a piano player who was a concentration camp survivor. I remember watching the serial number tattooed on his wrist sliding in and out of his sleeve as he played. He told me stories of his experience…stories that I would never forget.
The evils of fascism were incremental. As its small evils became big evils, German society managed to be oblivious to its own atrocities. At first, concentration camps contained people who didn’t conform. Then, they became forced labor camps. Eventually, the Nazis built death camps — which were located outside of Germany and therefore farther from public view. With what the Nazis called the “Final Solution,” the entire Jewish population was targeted for extermination. In total, approximately 6 million Jews died from Nazi persecution. 2.7 million of those died in death camps.
Today, I believe history is speaking to us. As a historian and tour guide, I hear it, and I embrace the challenge of sharing its lessons.
Let us learn from the Holocaust and never let it be repeated.