Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp railroad entrance

I would be remiss if I did not at least briefly mention that today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today is also the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Earlier today I had a brief email back-and-forth with a friend who is a Holocaust survivor. He has been speaking out on the road a lot this winter and I believe gets back to the city later in the week. After I got home I checked out some of the news coverage and social media online from around the world. It sounds ridiculous to say but it is often lost on us how global was the Second World War, the extent to which it reached into virtually every house and hamlet across the globe regardless of how large or small. The Second World War seems ironically so long ago and yet as close and relevant as it was in 1945. As the late military historian John Keegan often said, the history of war has not truly been written yet. The consequences and aftereffects are still playing themselves out, and probably willful many decades. In our current moment it is more important than ever to study history across all regions and eras, which is why there are people out there who would take it away from us.

A book they gave us at the training I attended at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum two weeks ago was Michael Dobbs’s “The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between,” which I intend to read this coming weekend.