BBC: Stop talking about the Holocaust?
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BBC: Stop talking about the Holocaust?

Religious discussion show poses controversial question, provoking strong reactions

A concentration camp prisoner attending a ceremony at the memorial site of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 2014. (AFP/JANEK SKARZYNSKI)
A concentration camp prisoner attending a ceremony at the memorial site of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 2014. (AFP/JANEK SKARZYNSKI)

Should the world stop talking about the Holocaust?

The answer might be obvious to many, but the BBC wants to open it up to discussion.

As part of its special International Holocaust Remembrance Day programming, the BBC One show The Big Questions held a discussion on the lessons of the Holocaust, and how it is remembered today.

The show, which aired Sunday, featured rabbis, academics, survivors, and educators.

Some Twitter users didn’t take especially kindly to the question.

https://twitter.com/symphonydog/status/559317005841752064

The provocative question spurred a discussion on whether the Holocaust was a unique event in history, and how best to memorialize such a horrific period.

Some panelists, including historian Tom Lawson, disputed the idea that the Holocaust was a unique event, receiving hearty applause. Rabbi Yaakov Wise countered that the Nazis didn’t just want to physically annihilate the Jews, but sought the “annihilation of Judaism as a religion, as a philosophy, as a civilization.”

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said it would be “obscene” to lay the Holocaust to rest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwRdLCUJ_rg

The participants in the discussion were Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism; Lawson from Northumbria University; Wise from the Center for Jewish Studies at Manchester University; chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Olivia Marks-Woldman; human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell; Holocaust survivor Iby Knill; Dr. Paul Darke from Motion Disabled; journalist Angela Epstein; Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis from the University of East London; Mukesh Kapila, professor of global health and humanitarian affairs at Manchester University; and Rabbi Benjy Rickman from King David and Yavneh High School, Manchester.

The Big Questions, hosted by Nicky Campbell, is the BBC’s weekly religion and ethics program.

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