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Remembering The Holocaust

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Coleraine Ulster Unionist Councillor William McCandless has spoken about the importance of democracy in a statement marking Holocaust Memorial Day.

Cllr McCandless said: “The Holocaust was a disgraceful act of genocide which occurred in the 20th Century, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered by Hitler’s Nazi regime.”

“This persecution of the Jews regrettably had been State sponsored by the Nazis who promoted the theory that their Aryan race was superior. Nazi persecution also extended to other groups, including some of the Slavic nations, gypsies, communists, socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and the mentally and physically disabled.”

“Between 1941 and 1944 the Nazi war machine deported the Jews from Germany and their occupied territories to their killing centres in Auschwitz – Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek and Sobibor.”

“To try and understand the magnitude and scale of slaughter and put it into context, if we look at one European country – Poland; in 1939 there were approximately 3.5M Jews living there. This equated to 10% of the entire population of Poland. By the end of the War, 90% of Poland’s Jewish population was dead.”

“It is vitally important that we pause to remember the scale of the suffering of the Jewish people in the Holocaust.”

“A quotation on the wall of the Jewish holocaust centre in Elsternwick Melbourne Australia says ” It happened, so it can happen again. That is the essence of what we have to say.”

“Terrible events like the holocaust happen when we allow discrimination, when hatred gets out of control and whenever we stop seeing people as human beings.”

“It is estimated that the number of casualties associated with WW. 2 is between 50 and 60 million.”

“Whilst in prison in Germany in the 1920s Hitler wrote his book Mein Kampf (literally – My Struggle), which was essentially his twisted manifesto. It has been calculated that if we equate the death toll at 50 million, then 125 people died for every word written in that book.”

“Hitler had made it clear the mad and hate filled ideology that drove him. The power of the written and spoken word saw the Nazis increase their political influence at elections in the 1920s and the 1930s. Hitler used the democratic process to achieve political power in Germany. The lesson is that elections matter, that the rights of everyone must be protected, and that people cannot opt out of democracy without risking terrible consequences.”

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