Just weeks ago, Sears apologized for a Nazi fashion ring that had been posted for sales on its website. While representatives from Sears claim the ring had been posted by one of its independent third-party vendors and would be immediately taken down, it, in a way, encourages others to view World War II and The Holocaust as some kind of a joke. In addition, it gives off the vibe that those in our present society should embrace Nazi values and ideals.
As a Jewish person, I am particularly repulsed by this offensive piece of merchandise and the poor judgment of those responsible for posting it. While over seventy years have passed since this horrific event, it still is not to be taken lightly, especially for someone like myself, who has lost countless relatives to The Holocaust. Unfortunately, Sears is not one of the first businesses to make a joke out of The Holocaust. Just two years ago, Urban Outfitters posted, on their site, a yellow shirt with a Star of David on the shirt's breast pocket, a symbol associated with the humiliating yellow star that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Europe.
Merchandise like this, along with the multitude of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel acts committed recently in the world, shows us that anti-Semitism is on the rise yet again. As a result, many fearful Jews have decided to immigrate to the "Holy Land", Israel. Between the years 1989 and 2013, an average of 1,943 French Jews emigrated to Israel. This year, however, with such a surge in anti-Semitism (especially in France), that number has grown to 4,566 (that only includes records from August through September of this year).
In more shocking news, the head of the physics department at Bilecik University in Turkey has recently been awarded a fund from Turkey's state scientific institute to sponsor his research into reviving Nazi death camps (Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, has been a number one bestseller in Turkey for over a decade).
Many people seem to forget that the Nazi regime was opposed to more than just Jews. Nazis aimed to eliminate anyone who didn’t quite fit into the “Aryan race.” It was a dark time of ethnic cleansing, fascism, and totalitarianism.
Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor during World War II, strongly opposed the Nazis and is remembered for his famous quote:
As it is often said, history tends to repeat itself. If we do not stand for human rights and justice for all, and if we do not start speaking up now, all of us will soon be affected. Just as there are consequences to our actions, there are also consequences to our inaction. Speak up and show your support for the rights of both yourself and others. You never know when it might be too late.