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The holocaust was real

December 22, 2018

The Holocaust was real.

Six million Jewish people died in it. They were gassed and worked to death in Nazi concentration camps. Families were split apart, destroyed and exterminated. Millions of others died in the Holocaust, too. Gays. Dissidents. Romani. It was real. It happened.

Survivors of the Holocaust still live among us in San Antonio. Many share their painful stories in the hope of achieving better understanding. Because their personal history is our collective history. Because understanding is the only way to avoid repeating.

Never again. That is the noble goal. We have yet to achieve it. Let us never forget other genocides. Bosnia. Myanmar. Darfur. Iraq. Rwanda. Never again.

Signs like the one placed outside the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio — as well as recent swastikas in Converse — are also a stark reminder of how much work we have left to do. The sign denied the existence of the Holocaust. “Fake News,” it said, an arrow pointing to the museum. And then “MAGA,” the acronym for the Trump presidential slogan, Make America Great Again.

The sign was quickly taken down. Police were called. An investigation is ongoing.

And yet, the disturbing message lingers. Hate. Right here in San Antonio, a compassionate city.

Disturbing messages such as these — as well as offhand comments of bigotry, sexism and anti-Semitism, or stray postings on the Internet — have to be squashed at every turn. They cannot be allowed to seep and spread or resemble the smallest appearance of acceptance because they can so easily manifest to other forms of hate. To the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. To the documented rise of anti-Semitism in America.

The Holocaust was real. To deny it is to deny our collective history and our shared humanity.

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