"And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a "yad vashem")… that shall not be cut off."
– Isaiah 56: 5
Yesterday our Conservative delegation to Israel visited Yad Vashem – the Holocaust museum. The photograph below points to something of what the world lost during history’s worst crime. The unfinished pillars in the background and unfinished foundations in the foreground stand as a memorial to the one-and-a-half million Jewish children who died from 1939 to 1945.
The story of SS St Louis struck me particularly strongly yesterday. 950 Jewish refugees travelled across the Atlantic to Cuba, aboard the St Louis. Fleeing Nazi persecution they were rejected by the authorities in Havana even though they had valid visas. They were then turned away by the USA and Canada. Eventually various European countries took them in after the ship returned across the Atlantic. Look into the faces of those two women on the right. They were returned to parts of Europe that became occupied and were unlikely to have survived the Holocaust.
Although there was something unique about the way the Nazi hatred of the Jewish people evolved into the mechanised murder of six million there is little room for feelings of superiority today.
In last week’s Spectator Peter Oborne wrote a chilling review of the situation in Darfur and its consequences for Chad. He described how Jangaweed militia – in possession of "AK-47s, M-14 automatic rifles, grenades and even anti-tank weapons" – continue to systematically murder local African tribesmen. These tribesmen are often unarmed but when they do have weapons they are bows, arrows and spears. They are no match for the Jangaweed and their twisted, racist Arab ideology. Having perfected their murderous techniques in Darfur over the last three years – murdering hundreds of thousands – the Jangaweed are now exporting their horror to Chad. The world has largely ignored this huge humanitarian disaster and has left an inadequately numbered and equipped African Union force to fail to defend the native tribesmen.
Yesterday also involved meetings with Palestinian representatives and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I’ll reflect on those meetings when I post on the current Israeli-Palestine situation tomorrow.
Read the previous entry in this series here.