A lesson from World War II is to look beyond irrational laws created by the Nazis but focus on the way those laws were quietly reinforced by citizens without challenge or question. Initially, it was the German people and other nations that played a pivotal part of extermination of Jewish populations along with homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or anyone indifferent to the political ideology of the Nazis or its particular allies. After the war, nations took an oath never to allow people to become labeled, marked, branded, or classified creating any forms of second-class citizenry. The U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington DC reminds us of valuable lesson from a particular period. Silence and indifference to the suffering of others, or to the infringement of civil rights in any society, can—however unintentionally—perpetuate problems. Another lesson is the Holocaust was not an accident in history; it occurred because individuals, organizations, and governments made choices that legalized not only discrimination but also allowed prejudice, hatred, and ultimately mass murder to happen. Ironic that a museum teaching historical lessons about branding, labels, prejudice, and hatred are steps away from Congress where such laws of injustice are frequently created.
Naturally, there are vast differences between the Holocaust and the sex offender registry. However many parallels reflect how registered, the accused, convicted, or those suspected as potential offenders are labeled.