By Amber Martin | Garrison Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. — On the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp, the 4th Infantry Division and 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) hosted a Holocaust Days of Remembrance observance April 29, 2019, at the Elkhorn Conference Center.
The theme was “Beyond Religious Boundaries” and highlighted why the lessons about discrimination are still valuable today.
“It’s not something that happened 75-plus years ago, and it’s history that we don’t have to look at,” said Todd Hennessy, guest speaker and director of Colorado Holocaust Educators. “We can see those events happening. We still have participants, survivors, liberators, witnesses and even perpetrators that are still alive today, and so we can learn from those things.”
Hennessy shared a perspective about varying victim groups that the Nazis and their collaborators discriminated against to support their narrative and blame post-war Germany’s problems on.
“When we look at the total number of victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish victims, were by far the largest,” said Hennessy. “You don’t have the Holocaust without Jewish victims. Along with that — there are other groups that were targeted … political groups, religious groups (and) racial groups.”
The Nazis considered Jews to be the main danger in Nazi Germany and they were the primary victims of Nazi racism. Approximately six million Jews were killed during World War II with an estimate of 11 million victims total.
Eleven candles were lit during the observance, each candle representing one million victims. One after the other, 11 Soldiers stood up and read a Holocaust victim’s story from an identification card from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. At the end, each Soldier declared, “You are remembered.”
The last Soldier read a story about Simcha Perlmutter, who was born in 1900 in Horochow, Poland. Perlmutter was a philosophy professor, husband and father of two daughters. In June 1941, German forces raided his home and he was arrested and deported. His family never saw him again. His family believed he was taken to Dachau or immediately killed outside of town.
The ideology of the Nazis during World War II caused mass genocide of the Jews.
The observance stressed the importance of remembering and honoring these victims, and discussing and learning from it, as well as never forgetting.
“As they say, history does repeat itself, and I think there are a number of echoes and things that we’ve seen in the past both in this country, other countries, multiple continents, in which, if we don’t keep those things in check, they do grow; they do (grow) to the extent of a Holocaust,” said Hennessy.
Racial ideologies, religious and political beliefs have been the source of genocide in the world since ancient times. Today, the U.S., is more diverse than ever, and it is important to remember discrimination of any kind is not acceptable.
“The point I really want to emphasize, is the challenge with learning from history, the longer time goes by, the farther it gets in the past and the less relevant it seems to who we are and what we are doing today,” said Col. Lawrence G. Ferguson, commander of 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). “We have to be vigilant, and we have to pay attention to what we see around the world and we’ve got to clearly recognize the threats we see and our responsibility to meet those threats head on and anticipate them and be ready.”