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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Don't Let It Happen Again

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
- Elie Wiesel
The picture above if of my grandfather, Buchenwald survivor Ed Carter-Edwards and my eldest son.  They are laying a rose on a plaque at the site of the former Nazi Concentration Camp; the plaque lists the dozens of countries who lost citizens in Buchenwald.  These nations include places like the ANZAC countries and Canada that were nowhere near the line of fire in WWII.
It just goes to show - when we allow hatred to flourish, no one is safe.
My grandfather ended up in Buchenwald because he went to fight for his country against a cause he knew to be wrong; there was no way he could have predicted the path signing up set him on and the impact that journey would have on his entire family.
When my grandpa first returned to Canada after the war, he was told by his own commanders not to speak about his experiences.  The fear these well-meaning folk had was that my grandpa's PTSD would serve as a detriment to him finding and keeping work - best to sweep the whole thing under the carpet and go on as if nothing ever happened.
Back then, the culture was to keep your head down and carry on.  That's exactly what happened at Buchenwald; as Allied nations went about returning order within their borders, Buchenwald became Soviet Special Camp II and the atrocities continued. 
There's a lesson in this; we can never, never afford to turn our back on hatred and discrimination; like a weed or a cancer, it has to be stamped down from the outset.  When we ignore the resurgence of violent racism, we doom ourselves to repeat history.
I don't want my son to have to endure the horrors his great-grandfather did.  No thought pains me more than that of my boy signing up to fight another war against hatred made policy in Europe, possibly facing the exact same risks his grandfather did.  But if could very well happen if we don't step up, speak out and take a stand against intolerance.
Which is why I am asking for your support.
Third Generation Buchenwald is a grassroots organization of children, grandchildren and friends of Buchenwald Survivors spread out around the world that is working very hard, year after year to raise awareness of exactly what happened in Buchenwald and to speak against the hatred of politics wherever it occurs.  There's no large organization or sponsorship dollars behind us; we're just a group of people who refuse to be indifferent to the horrors of the past.
To do this work effectively, we need your help.  We need you to pay attention and, if you're willing, to help us bring all these passionate people from around the world together under one roof to plan the way forward, including an exhibition that can bring this story around the world.
You can help us by donating here.
To learn more about Third Generation Buchenwald, watch this short video.
Whatever your resources, whatever your comfort level, please help.  Hatred is on the rise out there; we can do something about it, but only if we act now.
Don't be indifferent.  Don't condemn our children to endure the same fight our grandparents did. 

"We, the survivors, are not going to live forever.
You, the young, are not only the preservers of our legacy, you also embody our hope for a peaceful world – the kind of world we have always hoped for."
Bertrand Herz, President of the International Committee Buchenwald Dora and Kommandos, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation, April 2005

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