Over the course of about 12 years (1933 – 1945), Nazi Germany and its collaborators established 44,000 camps – concentration camps, forced labor camps, transit camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and killing centers. Dachau, the first concentration camp, opened outside of Munich in 1933 – and ran until its liberation in 1945. Among the early prisoners were German Communists, Socialists, and Social Democrats. Almost 80 years later, on October 8, 2023, the day after 1400 Israelis were butchered, raped, burned alive, and slaughtered by Hamas terrorists and 241 civilians were kidnapped, the American Democratic Socialists organized a rally in the Big Apple, at which “pro-Palestinians” stomped on Israeli flags.
In facilitating the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” the Nazis, their allies and collaborators systematically murdered 6 million Jewish people, largely by gassing them in “showers” and with mass shootings. Almost 80 years later, on Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists paraglided into a music festival and gang raped, butchered, and engaged in the mass shooting of 260 Israelis. That same day, Palestinian terrorists raided the kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and bomb shelters of Israeli kibbutzniks, and blew up, mutilated, burned alive, and shot up Jewish civilians – men, women, and children. They kidnapped 241 Israeli civilians – infants whose parents they murdered, cancer patients in the middle of treatment, Shoah survivors, peace activists. Initially, the whole world seemed outraged, but within a matter of days, even members of the U.S. House of Representatives were shouting “Free Palestine” from megaphones.
During WWII, there were 6 killing centers in the Nazi’s “Euthanasia Program.” At Auschwitz alone, the Birkenau killing center had four gas chambers, “the crematoria,” where an average of 6,000 Jews a day were gassed during the height of deportations between 1943 – 1944. A total of 2,772,000 Jews were murdered in these killing centers – and another 2 million in mass shootings across occupied Eastern Europe. Another 800,000 to 1,000,000 were murdered in ghettos, labor camps, and concentration camps, and at least 250,000 Jews were killed in antisemitic riots, on forced marches, in cattle cars, ghettos, on ships. Even though these figures were calculated in part based on prewar and postwar documents created by the Nazis, almost 80 years later, there are still those who engage in Holocaust denial. And there are those who are already denying the atrocities committed against Israelis on Oct. 7, 2023, even though Hamas captives have admitted what they did – and wore body cams that government officials and journalists from all over the world have watched.
In the late 1940s, secular kibbutzniks adopted an old rallying cry, “Never Again.” Never again would the Jewish community march to our deaths. Never again would we be exiled from our Jewish homeland. Never again would we be without a Jewish state or an army. Never again would the world sit by and watch our suffering and extermination, like America did when refugee ships were turned away from their shores – and when the State Department suppressed reports of mass killings. Americans could have screamed for its leaders to bomb the train tracks to the death camps and the gas chambers, but few did. America, like many of her allies, was largely indifferent to the genocide of Jews and by her (and their) apathy, even complicit.
In the weeks following the events of Oct. 7, 2023, as Israel retaliated and invaded Gaza, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of London, Copenhagen, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Istanbul – chanting “Ceasefire Now!” They bemoaned – as any caring person would – the horrible loss of civilian life in Gaza that resulted from a war that Hamas started and has openly celebrated.
But these calls for a ceasefire have generally not included simultaneous calls for the Israeli hostages to be released. These “pro-Palestinian” protesters have falsely accused Israel of genocide, while marching with placards showing Stars of David being tossed into trashcans, literally calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews. Interestingly, you never hear “pro-Palestinian” protesters accuse Hamas of genocide for refusing to allow their people to evacuate Gaza or for using them as human shields.
In the last 12 years, 13 million civilians in Syria, half the Syrian population, have been displaced. More than 350,000 people have been killed – including over 20,000 children. But there is a dearth of human rights activists shouting about genocide from the streets of London, Paris, and Istanbul.
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, over a thousand civilians have been killed and 2,679 wounded, the majority of whom were killed by suicide bombings in mosques, markets, schools, and other public arenas. But there haven’t been any marches calling to “Free Afghanistan.”
By the end of 2021, the war in Yemen had killed 377,000 people, nearly 15,000 civilians, often from targeted air strikes at civilian gatherings like weddings and in marketplaces. But there’s been no outcry from the Democratic Socialists, no rallies in New York, no marches in Marseille or Paris.
If Israel or Jews are not involved, no one seems to care about dead Arabs or Muslims. Why is that? And if we are involved, then even when attacked, we are blamed for the resulting casualties.
Is “Never Again” now? It is for the 300,000 or so demonstrators from across the U.S. who gathered for the March for Israel at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14, 2023. It is for U.S. Congressmen and Senators like House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jefferies and Speaker Mike Johnson, who have been vocal in support of Israel and the Jewish people. It is for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who went to Tel Aviv to “express solidarity with the Israeli people “and for two-thirds of America and most of her European allies who immediately condemned the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7th and expressed solidarity with Israel. But, given concurrent calls for Israel’s annihilation from “the River to the Sea” that have flooded the streets of major cities across the globe, the ongoing denial of present and past atrocities committed against us, the celebration in the streets by Palestinians when we are slaughtered, we can never be complacent. Nazis still abound. So “Never Again” is definitely now.
Rachel A. Elovitz is an attorney in Atlanta, Ga., and a member on the board of the Atlanta Israel Coalition.