Why You Should Watch ‘Shoah’ Before the 2020 Election

“Not only was their overall lack of Holocaust knowledge troubling, but combined with the number of Millennials and Gen Z who have seen Holocaust denial on social media, it is clear that we must fight this distortion of history and do all we can to ensure that the social media giants stop allowing this harmful content on their platforms. Survivors lost their families, friends, homes and communities; we cannot deny their history.” — Greg Schneider, Executive VP of Jewish Claims Conference

Despite these sobering numbers, 80% also said they believe further education on the Holocaust is needed so it never happens again. Perhaps if we could rely on our leadership to encourage this kind of education, these statistics wouldn’t be so terrifying.

A scene from ‘Shoah’, Simon Srebnik at center

“Sometimes I think that when [tourists] leave a candle or a stone or they put the flower or they say a prayer and they leave the memorial, and they go back to their lives, they think: ‘Our job is done. We remembered.’ But I think there should be a next step. People should look at this place and think about our moral responsibility. This is not an anthropological discovery of ‘Oh, people 75 years ago were able to do something like this,’ and we are surprised. They [still] are able to do it. They did it before. And people still hate each other” — Pawel Sawicki, Auschwitz guide

Shoah is not just a historical document. When you watch it, I think you’ll agree that there is no such thing as excessive hypervigilance when it comes to ensuring that hatred finds no fertile ground to grow on. Now — in the midst of a chaotic year full of division, desensitization, heightened authoritarianism, racial tension and disinformation — is the right time to bear witness to Shoah as both a reminder and a warning. It is often lamented that the stories of Holocaust survivors are fading away along with them; but this is not true. Due to the efforts of those behind Shoah, and others who are working today to keep us from forgetting, their voices are preserved. They urge us to hit play and listen, to hear the truth. This is the absolute evil humanity is capable of. These are the ultimate costs of hate and bigotry, and we have the ability to choose whether we will continue down that path or find a better way.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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