Were not so wild about Harry

When England’s 21-year-old Prince Harry showed up at a costume party wearing a makeshift Nazi costume, the world expressed its outrage.

Sadly, many of Harry’s compatriots expressed little more than their boredom. A poll showed half of Britons under 35 saw nothing wrong with Harry’s wardrobe malfunction. Sixty percent of them had never even heard of Auschwitz.

This comes just as the world marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of that most notorious of Nazi death camps.

Never forget? It’s hard to forget something you never even knew.

The Harry flap underscores how poor a job the world has done in teaching the lessons of the Holocaust. Despite an abundance of museums, TV specials, classroom materials and good will, the Holocaust is yesterday’s news for a sizeable segment of the population.

That’s nothing less than bone-chilling as we set about the grim business of observing this 60th anniversary.

The occasion forces us to revisit the dark days when Auschwitz-Birkenau was open for business. Today, Jews still feel the suffering generated in that abattoir of hate.

Yet it would be incorrect to say we alone tend the flame of memory. Many the world over understand the unique depravity that was the Holocaust. Since 1945, they have stood with the Jewish people to help enshrine the dead and to join in our battle cry, “Never again.”

In fact, representatives from many nations, faiths and institutions will be at Auschwitz Thursday, Jan. 27, to mark the historic day. It is the least they, or anyone, can do.

But a moment of silence isn’t enough. There remains much work to be done. For one, as the British prince has shown us, vastly expanded education, at all levels, is a crucial step in cementing the lessons of the Shoah. The youth of the world need to know this was not simply a disaster for Jews, but a disaster for humankind and must never be repeated. Their lives and our lives depend on it.

As our cover story this week points out, Shoah education does continue around the world. Poland, once a nexus of anti-Semitism, has taken bold steps to rid its youth of the poisons of the past

Then again, as William Faulkner said, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.”

For Jews, Auschwitz will never be the past. Sixty years is nothing. Nothing at all. The pain of that place will never fade for us.

But we are duty-bound to mark the time. Perhaps this anniversary will be the catalyst to make sure no future prince will think it charming to make light of that awful event.

Sixty years and we will never forget.