Could it happen again?

International Holocaust Remembrance Day passes mostly unnoticed in the United States. But would Americans maybe take a greater interest if they knew Hitler had been devising a “Final Solution” for North America, too?

At least that’s what a book recently acquired by the Library and Archives of Canada suggests. Taken from Hitler’s own bookshelf, “Statistik, Presse und Organisationen des Judentums in den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada (Statistics, Media, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada) provides details on the Jewish population of large cities such as New York and Montreal, as well as small Jewish communities throughout North America,” according to the BBC.

Searching for more information, I was dismayed that two of the top-10 hits on Google were for an extremist website. One comment minimized the book’s significance, while another seemed to call for “racial purification” of a different sort.

holocaust rememberance googleIt’s tempting to dismiss these as fringe views, except that our top government official has lobbed equally incendiary words when speaking of immigrants (“These aren’t people. These are animals.”).

I don’t know whether he actually believes this — and I don’t want to go full Godwin’s Law here — but it’s a fact that labeling any group of people as subhuman is the first step in committing atrocities.

So today let’s remember the more than six million victims of the Holocaust. And let’s also not forget the lessons of the past, lest history repeat itself.

To learn more:
Tribute to Hélène Berr
Interview with Louise Dillery
Stolpersteine – stumbling stones into the past
The Vel d’Hiv round-up of 1942