Totalitarian terror, which we thought was dead in Europe, is resurfacing

The reappearance of the monsters that gave rise to the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust

On this day, 80 years ago, one of the most heroic and desperate episodes of the Second World War began in Warsaw.

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That episode was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in nazi German-occupied Poland. The day before, on April 18, 1943, the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, had given the order to liquidate what was left of the Warsaw Ghetto. Between 50,000 and 70,000 Jews remained there in conditions inhuman. The operation to liquidate the ghetto began at 6:00 am on April 19, Passover. But something unexpected happened.

Poorly armed, with the few resources that the Polish resistance could provide, hundreds of Jewish fighters faced the Germans. One of the survivors, Marek Edelman, commented years later that they knew they could not win: "The goal of the Rising was to die with dignity, fighting." Despite their Lack of resources, despite the inequality of forces, hunger and disease, those heroes resisted for 27 days, until May 16, 1943. Remembering them is a moral obligation of all those we love freedom.

But that memory is clouded today by an alarming fact of our time: the reappearance of the monsters that gave rise to the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust. After the extermination of 6 million Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany during World War II, and although National Socialism is today a purely marginal phenomenon (something to be celebrated), the antisemitism is being revived mainly by Islamic fundamentalism and the extreme left, under the cynical guise of antizionism, according to which the Jewish people are the only people on earth that do not have the right to a state of their own: Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East.

As if this rise in anti-Semitism were not enough, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is showing crimes against humanity that are very reminiscent of those of Nazism, with the mass deportation of children kidnapped by the Russians -what same as the Nazis did with many Polish children-, the torture and murder of civilians -including children- and of Ukrainian prisoners of war, and the claim that a sovereign and independent country should cease to exist because the imperialist rantings of the Putin regime.

It is alarming to see that in my own country, Spain, there are individuals of different ideologies -but above all from extremes- supporting this criminal aggression against Ukraine, denying Russian crimes and spreading disinformation to cover them up, with the same fanaticism with which that some even today continue to deny the crimes of genocide committed by the Nazis and the communists.

Those of us who love freedom cannot remain impassive before the reappearance of these monsters. We have a duty to combat them. We have a moral duty to remember their crimes and their millions of victims, and we also have a duty to denounce the atrocities that modern imitators of Nazi terror and Red terror are committing today against the heroic Ukrainian people. Our oblivion and our silence are the best accomplices that totalitarians can have. The memory of the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto should serve as a spur to us in this fight, in which our best weapon is words.


Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jews being deported by the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943.

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