Let me leave out protocol issues, and hand you a number of politically incorrect thoughts.

Why do we highlight the figures of the so-called “Righteous Among the Nations”?

They are non-Jews who, even at the cost of their lives, saved Jewish lives during the Nazi barbarism.

Generally, they were completely ordinary people who, in the face of an extraordinary reality, have acted by putting good before evil.

They were people who, as you are convinced it is your case, were educated in their homes to differentiate between right and wrong values. But when the time came, obviously not everyone would be able to act accordingly. 

How strange humanity is! It teaches its young people for nearly two decades what should be done, but when the time comes it allows those who advocate the opposite to get away with it.

Worst of all, we then pour rivers of ink to justify ourselves.

And when the horrendous happens, our first attitude is to blame “Education”, capitalising the noun and making it more abstract.

Wrong again.

Exactly one week ago, on 20 January, it was the 80th anniversary of a 90-minute meeting at Wanssee, a location outside Berlin. In it, fifteen high-ranking Nazi officials, eight of whom held doctorates from prestigious universities, representing the most educated people in the world, resolved “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. 

In other words, they arranged to replace the mass murder of the Jews which they carried out while invading the Soviet Union, by a coldly conceived system of railway networks linking all the ends of Europe to extermination camps, equipped with gas chambers – cheaper than bullets-, cremation of the bodies, and slave labour for those who were able to do it until it was their turn to have their own dose of Zyklon B.

That highly educated society had based its educational system on preparing doctors to experiment on humans and develop an Aryan science; lawyers and judges to uphold that system of taking away the rights of a part of its own population and where the right to life was not the one that was above the system; teachers and professors to teach discrimination, dehumanisation, and hatred of those who were different. Clearly, claiming that “Education” is the solution is not the right thing to do. What is appropriate is to assess that what we teach that is right or wrong is above the concept of ethics that the government of the day is trying to establish.

Bertolt Brecht said through his wonderful Galileo Galilei: “Woe to the people and the time that need heroes”. 

There is no doubt that we live in an age where we must applaud those who do good every day, without each one of us being willing to do so.

Lessons of political correctness abound and even attract a “cancellation policy” that has been performed by people whose ethical assessment today is debatable. 

“Correction” is to choose 27 January as the day of remembrance for the victims of the Shoah, because on that day in 1945 the Red Army “liberated” Auschwitz. Well, in reality that factory of death was found by chance by the Soviets when they were trying to reach Berlin before the other Allies. The Nazis had already fled and left those flesh-bearing bones that still had a beating heart to fend for themselves. 

“Political correctness” is to vote in 2022 for a United Nations resolution condemning Holocaust Denial and Distortion, while remaining silent in the face of threats from Iran, and Hezbollah calling for the annihilation of the Jews of today’s world.

On this day I prefer to highlight some signs that show that doing good coincides with what society should embrace. 

Understanding that for our society to be richer and more diverse we must have strong legal elements to defend everyone’s right to fulfilment.

Adopting real anti-discrimination laws and embracing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. Some countries in Latin America have already taken this step: Uruguay, Guatemala, Argentina. International bodies such as the OAS and Parlasur. Civil society institutions – which in these times come before the states, where the urgent matters prevent them from dealing with the important- have also adhered to IHRA´s definition.

It should not be so difficult. 

The development of a diversity – respectful society is still based on the same concept that the teacher Hillel, in the first century of the Common Era, transmitted in a single sentence to whoever challenged him to teach him the Torah while he could stand on one foot.

Love your neighbour as yourself. The rest is commentary.”

Dr. Ariel Gelblung

Simon Wiesenthal Center`s

Director for Latin America