9/11 and the Holocaust - the similarities and the hope it will never happen again

9/11 and the Holocaust - the similarities and the hope it will never happen again

This document is dedicated to the memory of my beloved late wife, Millicent Dachman who wrote this original masterpiece shortly after September 11, 2001. It was read to 50,000 students across the State of Illinois and Wisconsin during lectures we gave regarding the horrors of the Holocaust.

12 years ago the world witnessed a unique kind of broadcasting…the mass murder of thousands live on television. As a lesson in the pitiless cruelty of the human race, September 11, 2001 stands up there with Pol Pot’s Mountain of Skulls in Cambodia or the skeletal bodies stacked like garbage in the Nazi concentration camps. An unspeakable act so cruel, so calculated and so utterly merciless that surely the world could agree on one thing…nobody deserved that fate.
We remember the horrors of 9-11-01, the gut wrenching tapes of weeping men, phoning their wives to say “I love you” before they were burned alive. We remember those people leaping to their deaths from the top of burning skyscrapers. We remember the hundreds of brave firemen buried alive. We remember the face of that beautiful little girl holding her mum on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. Like the Holocaust of 1933-1945, when 30 million innocents died, the victims of the 9-11-01 Holocaust were truly innocent, the perpetrators truly evil.
Students are too young to know personally, about the 1933-1945 Holocaust. Perhaps your grandparents talk about this tragic period of history. However, you were witness to the tragic occurrence of 9-11-01, physically being at Ground Zero, seeing the horrific event on, in newspapers, magazines, on your computer and/or perhaps losing a loved one or dear friend either in the Twin Towers, The Pentagon assault, or the plane crash in Pennsylvania. Many students have related their losses to us and we extended our deepest sympathies to them and their families.

You may be wondering how these events compare. Adolph Hitler was to the 20th century what Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are to the 21st century: brutal killers, power hungry control freaks whose only interest is to satisfy their own needs, their own desires at the cost of and all human life, filled with their hatred towards mankind and even towards those innocent people of their countries, civilians, men, women, children brutally sacrificed at the whim of their very mentally unstable leaders. While Saddam was in power the hatred, fighting and killing continued.

During both historical events innocent victims burned, were entrapped, suffocated, drowned, were crushed, died of starvation, suffered the torture of not knowing their future which was questionable, inhaled and ingested poisoned fumes. Died. They left behind scores of broken families, 33 born after a parent died, with no closure for loved ones. Of the 30 million who died in 1933-1945 Holocaust more than half of the millions who died were never found, burned in the crematories, and buried in death pits. Of the three thousand (could have been 30,000, 300,000 or more) who died in the 9-11-01 Holocaust, only about 150 death certificates were issued for lack of body identification. At both times, families were forever separated, many living out their existence never knowing the exact details or the precise location of their loved ones deaths.

A tender moment during a tragic time

A tender moment during a tragic time

At both times hatred and prejudice has been relegated to a particular group of people. Kill every Jew in the world, kill every American, kill, kill, and hate and hate some more. But they say that much goods from evil. It did after the Holocaust of World War 2, it did it again after September 11, 2001, and we are seeing it all over America today as we pray our conflict will end successfully and our loved ones return from far off lands.


We are not born with hate, or prejudice or bigotry, Somehow it shows up in all of us at a very young age. We see someone who is different, who looks strange and we make fun of them, hurting others while not paying much attention to those hurt. We grow a little older and are able to understand more and our ridicule becomes more painful, someone’s hair is not like ours, skin color different, someone who doesn’t dress like we do and generally does not fit our mode of acceptability so we criticize, ostracize and whatever it takes to get our bigoted point across. We hear our families or parents call some races, chinks, dagos, n….. , Kikes and being cool, we think it’s funny even if we don’t believe it but want to be socially acceptable by our peers. And surely you are growing intelligent and wise enough to know life doesn’t work that way.

(Closing comments to the students) I choose to believe that you already know we live in the greatest country in the world, that love and tolerance and understanding surround us. That is the very essence of our lives. I look out and see eager young faces, glowing with excitement of a future filled with peace and understanding and love for others.

I see someone who may well sit in the Oval Office and govern the people of the USA, a Supreme court Judge, doctors, researchers who may discover the cure for cancer, a Nobel Laureate who will do well for all humanity, a Pulitzer prize author who will fill our minds with pleasure and knowledge, teachers, educators, parents, professionals who will keep tucked in their minds and hearts the better way of love, and understanding for yourselves, your children and all the children for generations to come.

God bless you all. Let us remember and never forget.

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