CANTERBURY, England (RNS/ENInews) After the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews during World War II, the world cried out “never again.” But one of Britain’s best-known young rabbis, Jonathan Romain, said the phrase has proved tragically wrong.
“Genocide has happened again and again and again,” he told ENInews ahead of Thursday’s (Jan. 27) Holocaust Memorial Day observances 66 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
“We only have to think about Biafra, Bosnia, Darfur and there are other examples,” said Romain, a leading spokesman for Reform Judaism in the United Kingdom. “The list is deeply depressing and screams out that Holocaust Memorial Day is needed as much now as ever before.”
Survivors and mourners have been asked by the Holocaust Memorial Trust in London to remember victims of other mass killings—the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 5.4 million people have been killed since 1998; Cambodia, where an estimated 1.7 million were murdered by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979; the Bosnian war in the 1990s that claimed at least 98,000 lives; Burundi, with 50,000 deaths in 1993 and Rwanda, which saw 800,000 deaths in 1994 due to tribal conflict.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams emphasized this year’s theme of “lost stories.”
“If the stories are not told over and again, we lose the memory of those who suffered and we risk losing something that protects our humanity … I commend for our remembrance the untold stories of Jewish people living in Britain during the medieval era, those of the Holocaust and the stories from the genocidal tragedies of many other contexts in our deeply damaged world today,” he said in a statement.