Never again: The vital lessons of the Holocaust and the urgency of education | Opinion

As the world commemorates UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, the resounding call of “Never Again” continues echoing through the corridors of history, a stark reminder of the horrors humanity should never forget. This solemn occasion not only compels us to honor the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust but also urges us to draw vital lessons from the past.

The 130 hostages (including up to six Americans) still being held in captivity by Hamas terrorists, the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and the global rise in Jew hatred creates a deeper connection to our responsibility to educate and bear witness.

In the words of Miami resident and Holocaust survivor Judy Rodan, “Education is the prime process to eliminate antisemitism. The pain of our history must serve as a lesson for future generations.”

Learn from past

Indeed, the Holocaust stands as a chilling testament to the consequences of unchecked hatred and discrimination. To truly honor those who suffered, we must confront the darkness of the past and actively learn from it.

In the present day, the alarming rise of antisemitism serves as a haunting echo of history. Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff emphasizes, “Education becomes a powerful tool in dismantling stereotypes and prejudices. It is through understanding the past that we can actively work towards a future free from discrimination and violence.”

Dr. Miriam, as she is known by her teacher advocates and students, is a child holocaust survivor. She escaped from Slovakia in 1941, and has spent her life educating people about antisemitism. Today, she is the director of The Holocaust Teacher Institute and chairperson of education at The Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach, which ensures local schools visit the memorial to meet the state mandate for Holocaust education.

This is also where 3GMiami steps in. With more than 50 trained volunteer speakers, all grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, we strive to bridge the gap between history and the present.

Survival and hope

Our mission is to ensure that the stories of our grandparents, like Judy Rodan and Miriam Klein Kassenoff, are not lost to time. Through engaging with more than 3,000 students in Miami in January alone, we share these personal narratives of survival, resilience and hope.

Our speakers recount the experiences of their grandparents, offering a human perspective on the atrocities of the Holocaust where six million Jews were murdered in a state-led genocide. By bringing these stories into classrooms, we aim to cultivate empathy and understanding. Education becomes a powerful antidote to ignorance, fostering a generation that values diversity, inclusivity and human rights.

On this UN Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to the phrase “Never Again.” Let us remember the past not merely as a historical event but as a living lesson, urging us to actively confront injustice.

Through education and remembrance, we can build a world where the shadows of the past do not cast a pall over our future.

Stephanie Rosen and Julie Paresky are co-founders of 3GMiami, an organization that teaches students in Miami to combat hate and antisemitism through applying the lessons of the Holocaust as told by the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.