moisi171_Britta Pedersenpicture alliance via Getty Images_steinmeier holocaust memorial Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Geopolitics of Holocaust Memory

The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz comes at a time when populism, nationalism, and anti-Semitism are again on the rise. The duty to remember the Holocaust is threatened both by its political instrumentalization, and by the natural human proclivity to forget the past or become indifferent to the suffering of others.

PARIS – The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army is an occasion marked by angst as well as sadness. Anti-Semitism is back with a vengeance around the world, as if the lessons of the Holocaust had evaporated with time – or, even worse, had never been fully integrated into our collective consciousness.

This unprecedented crime, perpetrated by one of the most advanced and cultivated societies on Earth, was the most extreme example of the horrors humans can inflict on one another. When pushed by a combination of fear and hatred, people can become monsters.

The current resurgence of populism and nationalism makes it all the more important to commemorate the victims of Auschwitz. But, 75 years on, the duty to remember is doubly threatened: by the political instrumentalization of the Holocaust, and by the natural human proclivity to forget the past or become indifferent to the suffering of others.

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