Election Section

Commentary: Holocaust Remembrance By KRISS WORTHINGTON

Tuesday May 03, 2005

“Nazis are bad; nuns are good.” That was my friend’s synopsis of The Sound of Music. The sentence could just as easily summarize much of the popular 

sentiment about the Holocaust. This year as we reach the 60th anniversary of “liberation” and the end of the war, a deeper and more profound understanding could benefit our youth and all of us. 

As Holocaust survivors age it becomes even more important to listen, to learn, and to remember. We can not wait until the 70th or 75th anniversary, because far too m any survivors will no longer be with us. Most of us alive today were not even born yet, but that is all the more reason for us to listen, and treasure the Survivors who are still with us. 

Nazi genocidal policy killed six million Jews, and about five million others including: Gypsies, people with physical disabilities, lesbians and gays, the dissenting clergy, and other political enemies. While they killed a majority of Jews in Europe, they failed to completely annihilate any of their target groups. But we too have failed in eliminating the hatred and fear against each of their target groups. 

Even today, in the ostensibly progressive Bay Area, racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, and anti-semitism persist. While overt prejudice and discriminati on is generally considered unacceptable in polite society, stereotypes persist and rear their ugly head in moments of conflict or passion, and in institutionalized patterns of exclusion. Asians, Latinos and African Americans are still too often underrepre sented in who gets hired, appointed and elected. In Berkeley itself, Jews have far too frequently been victims of hate crimes, as have people of color.  

Holocaust denial lectures and speeches have been given right here in Berkeley claiming that the holocaust did not happen. Holocaust Remembrance Day gives us an opportunity to stop and reflect, to remind ourselves that the horrors of the Holocaust did in fact happen, and to remember the suffering victims, the courage of the resistors, and to treasure the survivors, and to join in the chorus of hope and activism to say “Never again.” 

At noon on Friday, May 6 the City of Berkeley will officially commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day at the City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The event is free and open to the public. 


City Councilmember Kriss Worthington represents Berkeley’s District 7.