Those who did not experience the Holocaust, it is fair to say, cannot begin to understand what it was like; those who did cannot begin to describe it. To speak of the concentration camps is to fail to convey the depth of the evil, and any failure is disrespectful to the memories of those who died in the Holocaust. Speech, therefore, may seem forbidden, because it necessarily fails to express the truth of the Holocaust.
Yet, if nobody speaks of the Holocaust, those who died will go forgotten. It has become a commonplace among AIDS activists to use a slogan equating silence with death; similarly, it is the very real fear of many Holocaust survivors that a failure to speak about what happened during the Holocaust could lead to a possible recurrence of the same evil. Silence, it is sometimes said, gives a posthumous victory to Hitler, because it erases the memory of the atrocities that were committed at his command.