The UN designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day to occur every January 27. Most people don’t know that there might not be an International Holocaust Remembrance Day if it wasn’t for the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, General Dwight D.Eisenhower.
Eisenhower insisted that the world must see the barbarism committed by the Nazis and they should never be forgotten. Much of the video and picture proof of the Holocaust would not be available today were taken by U.S. military photographers ordered to do so by Eisenhower. The General knew that visual evidence was needed to make sure people in the future couldn’t deny or forget the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
On January 27, 1945, the Russian Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex. To mark this day and remember all who suffered under the Nazi regime sixty years later, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 60/7 to designate January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, meant to honor the victims of Nazism.
The Red Army Liberates Auschwitz-Birkenau
The Holocaust (Shoah in Hebrew) is unique in its volume and savagery and is a singular event in world history. Sadly there have been genocides of other people and other inhumanity. There were even other atrocities committed against the Jewish people. But generally, a genocide is waged to suppress a group, take their territory, for political reasons, or some economic reason like taking their wealth or enslaving a people. The Shoah was different.
The Jews targeted by Hitler and the Nazis had no land, were loyal citizens of their countries, and held relatively little power. The only purpose of the Nazi’s genocide of Jews was to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the Earth. They got some help from supposedly civilized leaders like Franklin Roosevelt sentenced hundreds of thousands of Jews to death because he didn’t want more Jews in the U.S.
During the Holocaust, approximately six million of the nine and a half million European Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
One of the phrases connected to the Holocaust is “never forget,” One of the reasons for the phrase is to remember all the people who suffered and died because of the Nazis and had no family left to mourn for them. Another reason was described in the famous statement from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”.
As we remember the Shoah on the 27th, we should understand that if it wasn’t for General Eisenhower, “never forget” would have been forgotten.
On April 11. 1945, Allied troops first discovered and liberated a Concentration Camp. Patton’s Third Army liberated the Ohrdruf concentration camp, part of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp Network. When America’s military leaders saw the barbarism of the Nazi concentration camps, they were horrified. General Eisenhower insisted that a visual and written record be kept for history.
On April 12, 1945, General Eisenhower met Generals Bradley and Patton at Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. Afterward, Eisenhower also ordered every American soldier in the area who was not on the front lines to visit Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. He wanted them to see for themselves what they were fighting against.
During the camp inspections with his top commanders, Eisenhower said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha (near Ohrdruf ) personally tour the camp, and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves. Later on, Ike wrote to Mamie, “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.”
Eisenhower cabled Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall on April 15 to explain the horrors he saw.
On the 19th, he sent a second cable suggesting that Marshall come to Germany and bring the press and members of Congress to see the heinousness for themselves:
We continue to uncover German concentration camps for political prisoners in which conditions of indescribable horror prevail. I have visited one of these myself and I assure you that whatever has been printed on them to date has been understatement. If you could see any advantage in asking about a dozen leaders of Congress and a dozen prominent editors to make a short visit to this theater in a couple of C-54’s, I will arrange to have them conducted to one of these places where the evidence of bestiality and cruelty is so overpowering as to leave no doubt in their minds about the normal practices of the Germans in these camps. I am hopeful that some British individuals in similar categories will visit the northern area to witness similar evidence of atrocity.
Eisenhower understood that many people would be unable to comprehend the full scope of this barbarism. He also understood that any human deeds that were so utterly evil might eventually be challenged or even denied as literally unbelievable, or call it a lie created by the Jewish people. For these reasons, he ordered that all the civilian news media and military combat camera units be required to visit the camps and record their observations in print, pictures, and film.
Sadly the General’s prediction proved correct. When some groups, even today, attempt to deny that the Holocaust ever happened, or that it wasn’t that bad, they must confront the massive official record, including both written evidence and thousands of pictures, that Eisenhower ordered to be assembled when he saw what the Nazis had done.
General Patton wrote the following in his diary after he toured the Camp:
It was the most appalling sight imaginable.
In a shed . . . was a pile of about 40 completely naked human bodies in the last stages of emaciation. These bodies were lightly sprinkled with lime, not for the purposes of destroying them, but for the purpose of removing the stench.
When the shed was full–I presume its capacity to be about 200, the bodies were taken to a pit a mile from the camp where they were buried. The inmates claimed that 3,000 men, who had been either shot in the head or who had died of starvation, had been so buried since the 1st of January.
When we began to approach with our troops, the Germans thought it expedient to remove the evidence of their crime. Therefore, they had some of the slaves exhume the bodies and place them on a mammoth griddle composed of 60-centimeter railway tracks laid on brick foundations. They poured pitch on the bodies and then built a fire of pinewood and coal under them. They were not very successful in their operations because there was a pile of human bones, skulls, charred torsos on or under the griddle which must have accounted for many hundreds.
General Omar Bradley said of the atrocities at Ohrdruf:
“The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade. More than 3200 naked, emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. Lice crawled over the yellowed skin of their sharp, bony frames.”
On January 20, 2022, on the 80th anniversary of1942, the Wannsee Conference of top Nazis, where the Germans planned how to murder Europe’s Jews, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Holocaust denial, the denial predicted by Eisenhower. Israel was joined by Germany as the prime sponsors of the resolution, and 100 other nations joined it.
Other than January 27 and last week’s passing of the condemnation of Holocaust denial, the international body spews Antisemitism. It is the same hatred Jews have faced for the past two thousand years. The only difference for the hatred is that they substitute the word Israel for Jews.
The UN, which except for the security council, is run by its majority–despotic nations. The despotic countries have unfairly slandered, libeled, and attempted to de-legitimize the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish State in the world. It’s the same age-old hatred but made to sound benign. Saying they hate Israel or its leaders, but what they really mean is they hate Jews.
Just like the Shoah, the UN’s hatred is done right under the noses of the world’s democracies. They don’t want to protect the Jews, and the counties supposedly friendly to Israel, such as Great Britain and France, for example, abstain from anti-Israel resolutions.
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day and every other day, may the memories of those who suffered through the Shoah always be for a blessing. And may we never forget what evil men can do when appeased by the rest of the world, just like the nations who abstain today.
And know that if it wasn’t for General Dwight D.Eisenhower, who refused to abstain from the truth, the world would have been more likely to forget.
Jeff Dunetz is editor/publisher of the blog "The Lid." The political columnist for The Jewish Star, and co-host of the weekly radio show, Host of The Lid Radio show on SHR Media, and is a Leader At Large of Herut NA-the Unapologetic Zionists!