[taken from chapter 9 of To Cross The Line With A Bridge (Rabeinu Publications, 2015)]
We should not fool ourselves into thinking that Nazism was ever extinguished with the fall of the Third Reich, as Nazis or neo-Nazis are resurfacing globally. Because of this, Am Yisrael needs to acknowledge this phenomenon and review its meaning. Highly recommended is to read Eli Wiesel’s book Night (also quoted from below), and for many reasons.
“First of all, you need to know about the Holocaust. It was an attempt at genocide with the most extreme forms of torture and sadistic human experimentation.
Researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum state that there were more than 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe from 1933 to 1945, among them 30,000 slave labor camps, 1,150 Jewish ghettos, 980 concentration camps, 1,000 POW camps, 500 brothels filled with sex slaves, and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.
“But you must read Night, and do so, really, also because you need to understand the magnitude and significance of what it means to be a Jew. You need to internalize the point that the basest of mortals, the Nazis, because they were or are the basest, their primary goal was to eradicate the Jew. Eli Wiesel explains this in the preface to the new translation of his book by his wife Marion Wiesel.”
In the early days of their accession to power, the Nazis in Germany set out to build a society in which there simply would be no room for Jews. Toward the end of their reign, their goal changed: they decided to leave behind a world in ruins in which Jews would seem never to have existed (Night, viii).
“It is precisely because the prime goal and activity of the basest and most evil of mortals was to eradicate every last memory of Judaism from the face of the planet, that it means that Judaism is its polar opposite and threat: Torah and goodness. And, that the duty of the Jew, being at the extreme other end of the Nazi’s, is of utmost importance for this world and for all existence.”