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“Home and Belonging”-Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

—Martin Niemöller

This quote hangs in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. It is a quote that encompasses the theme for this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day-“Home and Belonging”. For thousands of years before the Holocaust there was a targeted effort to dehumanize the Jewish population, taking away the ability to feel safe in a place they called home and their overall sense of belonging. Taking away these two pieces of identity was the breeding ground for the targeted hate, disinformation, and eventual genocide of the six million Jewish people during the Holocaust. 

Discrimination and disinformation can spread quickly when bystanders are silent in the face of hate, and this hate continues to the present day, in various forms to many groups. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “In the face of growing economic discontent and political instability, escalating white supremacist terrorism, and surging hate and religious bigotry – we must be more outspoken than ever,” drawing a parallel between the Holocaust and the present day.   

May we all take today to remember the six million individuals who were victims to the Holocaust. Six million individual’s names, personalities, dreams, and lives that were taken by extreme hate. The theme of “Home and Belonging” should make us strive to do all we can do in the face of current hate and discrimination and remember we have the responsibility to take a stand against darkness. May we take every opportunity to create a space of home and belonging for every member of our Greater Louisville Community.