Survivors unite to deliver message on Holocaust remembrance

NEW YORK (AP) — Holocaust survivors around the world have united to deliver a message about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the importance of remembrance at a time of rising global anti-Semitism.

In a video posted Thursday To mark Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel – 100 Holocaust survivors asked people to stand with them and remember the Nazi genocide to avoid repeating the horrors of the past.

The 100 Words project video was released by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also known as the Claims Conference. The group represents World Jewry in negotiating compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs, and provides social assistance to Holocaust survivors worldwide.

“The world is full of conflict – from the pandemic to the crisis in Ukraine – on days of remembrance like Yom HaShoah, it’s so important to stop and reflect,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference. , in a press release.

“The call to action that these survivors made today is not just a call to remembrance, but a call to action, a reminder that we don’t have to be spectators. We can all fight back in our own way and we can choose not to let our collective history repeat itself. »

Draft comes as Russia faces widespread revulsion and war crimes charges for attacks on civilians in his invasion of Ukraine. It also comes at a time when Holocaust survivors – now in their 80s and 90s – are dying, while studies show younger generations lack even basic knowledge of the Nazi genocide, in which a third of World Jews were wiped out.

“If we don’t remember them, we murder them twice because we forgot them. And we forgot the tragic travesty that was inflicted on millions of people,” said Ginger Lane, a Holocaust survivor who, along with her siblings, was hidden in an orchard near Berlin by non- jews.

“It’s important to remember that because it’s part of our heritage and our legacy that we pass on to the younger generation,” said Lane, whose mother was killed at the Auschwitz death camp, and who has made it his mission to educate. others.

“Holocaust denial, we know it’s always been there, but it seems to be on the rise and…a lot of young people don’t even know what the word Holocaust means…These young people are impatient to move on with their lives. But their lives today are shaped by the past. And they need to know what happened in the past.

In a study of 50 states of millennials and Gen Z in the United States in 2020, researchers found that 63% of respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust and 48% could not name a single Jewish camp. death or concentration.

The 100-word project statement by Holocaust survivors says:

“Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We all survived the Holocaust

We are here to give voice to the six million Jews who were murdered

We are a reminder that unchecked hate can lead to actions, actions to genocide

Just over 75 years ago, a third of the world’s Jews were systematically murdered

Among them, more than 1.5 million children were killed

in the name of indifference, intolerance, hatred

Hate for what we feared

Hate for what was different

We must remember the past or it will become our future

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we ask the world to stand with us and remember.

The annual remembrance known as Yom HaShoah is one of the most solemn on the Israeli calendar, with the nation coming to a standstill for a two-minute siren on Thursday morning. According to the Hebrew calendar, Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 – the most significant act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. Although the uprising ultimately failed, he is remembered in Israel as a symbol of strength and the struggle for freedom in the face of annihilation.

It means “resilience, tenacity, strength. It’s the mark of being a Holocaust survivor, the very concept of survival, of day-to-day problems, of fighting until the end,” said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference.

“And for some, unfortunately, the end was the gas chamber. For others, the end was the Warsaw ghetto, where a very small group of ill-equipped people held out for nearly a month,” Schneider said.

“And that’s why it’s such an important day in Israel, and around the world for the Jewish community because it symbolizes the struggle of the Jewish people, yes, but of all people facing this kind of incredible adversity.”

The Claims Conference is working with its partners, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, to get as many Holocaust survivors out of Ukraine as possible. Thousands of people have been killed and more than five million have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24.

Holocaust survivors from Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, the United States and Ukraine were part of the video statement.

“Survivors from many different countries and languages ​​who have very different experiences of persecution – some were in concentration camps, some were in ghettos, some fled, some were in hiding,” Schneider said.

“And yet they come together to speak with one voice of hope for the future.”


Associated Press religious coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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