Yom HaShoah, when Jews worldwide remember the millions martyred in the Holocaust, is the time to assess what lessons humanity has learned — and hasn’t — from the monumental crime perpetrated by Germany.
Nazis marched through Charlottesville; Hate crimes against Jews are rising in frequency and lethality; a member of Congress has repeatedly spouted anti-Semitic insults without direct rebuke from her colleagues; an anti-Semitic cartoon disgracefully leached into the pages of the international edition of The New York Times.
We don’t suggest another Kristallnacht is near. But the surest way to guard against further slippage, and mass hate crimes against other groups, is education, in the classroom and courtroom.
Next week, the largest exhibition of Auschwitz artifacts ever in this country will open at downtown’s Museum of Jewish Heritage. On loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum are more than 1,000 objects and photographs, from concrete fence posts to a barracks to a cattle car used to deport Jews to their deaths, documenting what the Germans left behind. And what the Jews left behind: suitcases, eyeglasses and shoes of the murdered.