Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As a tour guide, I have an ethic that every Rick Steves bus tour through Germany includes a pilgrimage to a concentration camp memorial. It’s our hope, as guides, that with this powerful experience, our travelers will heed the collective wish of Hitler’s victims: Forgive but Never Forget. When you travel thoughtfully — and incorporate stops at memorials to the six million Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany — the impact changes you.
If you search for “Holocaust” in the Rick Steves Classroom Europe video library, you’ll find a dozen clips (totaling about 45 minutes) that can be shared as a teaching tool at home or in the classroom. As the last people with first-hand memories of this tragic period in history pass away, it is important to keep alive the stark lessons of what happens when a society gives power to hate and racism.
On this day, especially, history is speaking to all of us. Here’s a 90-second visit to Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem. This sprawling memorial and museum chronicles the slaughter of six million Jews and celebrates the spirit of Zionism and the creation of modern Israel. (Of course, there are peace and justice issues between Israel and Palestine. But, for me, today is a day to focus — prayerfully — on the Holocaust.