A Hero That Embodies The Universal Lessons Of The Holocaust

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a reminder of horrors too terrible to believe but not too terrible to have happened. This year, it marked the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century. From 1941 to 1944, 1.3 million people were murdered at Auschwitz, and 1.1 million of them were Jews.

Let there be no mistake about it: Jews were murdered at Auschwitz because of anti-Semitism, but anti-Semitism did not die at Auschwitz. As we have learned only too tragically and too well, while it begins with Jews, it does not end with Jews.

As it happens, it has been a dark January.

Thus far, 2016 -- not unlike January of last year -- is witnessing ongoing and tragic terrorism, atrocity, anti-Semitism and assaults on human rights. Saudi Arabia began the year with the execution of 47 people, among them Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, while recently arresting Samar Badawi, sister of the imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

North Korea, itself a mass human rights violator, began by boasting the detonation of a hydrogen bomb. Iran continues executing more people per capita than any other country in the world, while remaining in standing violation of international agreements.

The UN reports gang rapes by Burundi security forces and discovery of mass graves. The Islamic State continues its terrorist incitement and bombings, with recent attacks in Istanbul and Jakarta, and Islamic State-inspired assaults on Jews in Marseille. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda terrorists mount a murderous assault in Burkina Faso, where six Canadians were among the murdered...

EXCERPT FROM:

IRWIN COTLER
The Huffington Post
Published: January 28, 2016