If some think there's too much interest in the Holocaust, there's only one thing to be done: shine the spotlight on that terrible time, drawing attention to individuals whom others could get something out of knowing about. I have three examples to begin with.
1. Irena Veisaite, recipient of this year's Goethe Medal, who spent three years in the Kaunas ghetto and then, after her mother was murdered, was taken in by a Lithuanian family. Of the period in the ghetto Veisaite writes:
It was a very, very bad time. I was in constant fear of being killed and was terribly hungry... Often, people were arrested or executed. If you were still alive at the end of the day, then that was good.
How she sees things now:
When Lithuania gained its independence in 1990, Irena Veisaite was 62 years old and had survived two dictatorships. It took a long time until she was finally allowed to talk openly about her story and that of the many other persecuted Jews. It pains her that there is still conflict over her country's past; the collaboration of some Lithuanians with the Nazi occupiers has remained a touchy subject, and the suffering of the Jews has not received enough attention, despite efforts from the government, historians and museums.
Veisaite doesn't point fingers, but she feels strongly that people should know what happened so that the mistakes and crimes that were committed will not be repeated. Germany's approach to its dark past is a model for Veisaite.
2 & 3. Hein Sietsma and Berendina (Diet) Eman, engaged to be married, were Dutch rescuers of Jews and were killed at Dachau. Their story is one of those now being digitally archived by the government of the Netherlands and Yad Vashem, in cooperation. From a last communication from Sietsma to Eman: 'Even if we never meet each other again on this earth, we will never be sorry for what we did... We will never regret that we took this stand, and know, Diet, that of every human being in the world, I loved you the most.'
(Post title amended 3 September, 2012. For an index to the whole series, see here)