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Saturday, January 21, 2012

How few, how little time

Have I injured a Jewish person today? Or anyone else? Never intentionally. But if I remain silent when someone else does, am I guilty, too? To some degree, depending on what is within my power to do or say. Below is an excerpt from a message that hit my inbox yesterday. I was nine days from my third birthday in 1942 when this event took place. An event which resulted in millions of deaths in addition to the Nazi's desired 'final solution'. I'm not three years old now and I have a voice and platform of sorts.

Mike Evans: I will never forget my mother’s words, “Christians hate Jews. Christians kill Jews.” That was all she knew from her family’s history.

It was seventy years ago today that the “Final Solution” was proposed and agreed to at the Wannsee Conference. Ninety minutes—a mere ninety minutes—was all it took for Adolf Hitler’s henchmen to determine the fate of six million Jews. During that period, roughly the time it would take to drive from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv during peak traffic, the Holocaust became a heinous reality.

The date: January 20, 1942.

The place: a beautiful villa in a serene lakeside suburb of Berlin.

The objective: to find a “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

Presiding over the conference was SS-Lieutenant General Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the Security Police and Security Service. In attendance were fourteen high-ranking German military and government leaders, among them Adolf Eichmann. Imagine, over lunch fifteen men in ninety minutes changed the world forever. January 20, 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of that fateful conference. We dare not let this dubious anniversary pass without marking how little time it takes to alter the course of history.