In Boston there are tall glass towers gracing a walkway depicting the names of the six million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust. The walkway invites reflection and awe. Is it possible that human beings could treat others with such brutality and ruthlessness? The sad answer to the question is “yes”. The Holocaust did happen. We cannot deny what history teaches us but the question of our day is whether we can learn from the hard lessons of yesterday?

It was in October, a number of years ago, that I walked the “walk” maintaining, like others who accompanied me, a reverential silence. Names had little meaning for me but what I will never forget was an inscription by Martin Niemoller which read: “First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist; then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew; then they came for the Catholics but I did not speak out because I was not a catholic; then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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