On January 30, 1933, 91 years ago, Hitler came to power and began the long road of building a case against the Jewish people that would lead to the murder of close to 7 million Jews and 11 million people during the Holocaust. It didn’t happen overnight, rather, it started with Germany losing World War I, moving into a great depression following the war, and the cost to Germany, both financially and emotionally. Germany needed new leadership and Adolf Hitler was who many believed could bring about change and healing for the country. Even many in the Jewish community voted for Hitler in hopes that he could bring about the promises of a better era for Germany. 

It was not a quick turn of events that led to the Holocaust itself, but rather years of propaganda and generations who propagated antisemitism that once again made the Jewish people the scapegoat. 

Yom HaShoah, starting Sunday evening, May 5, is not just an opportunity for us to remember the millions murdered at the hands of the Nazis, it is a reminder to have our eyes open to current events. With the passing of eyewitnesses to the Holocaust, we turn to places like Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Museum for these important records. And as we listen to their testimonials, we learn not only what life was like during the Holocaust, but also life leading up to it. The similarities from then to now are eerie and this serves as a wake-up call for us to do all we can to prevent it from ever happening again. This is not a time for turning a blind eye in hopes that it will just go away or things will just magically get better. 

The Jewish community is stunned by what we are witnessing and we cannot be moved into silence. “Never Again” is more important this year and together, we can and we will be strengthened. For Am Yisrael Chai, the Jewish people live and will live; no one can take away our identity as Jews or our connection to the Jewish community if we don’t let them. And we won’t.