Washington, DC – On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) pays tribute to the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as well as millions of Roma and Sinti, Slavs, disabled persons, LGBTQ, and others who were victimized by the Nazi party. Today marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of many notorious Nazi concentration and extermination camps.
“It is essential that we all remember the victims of the Shoah. To evoke their memory is to recall the horrid culmination of centuries of antisemitic conspiracy theories, some of which we are still trying to stamp out,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. “The Jewish community today is subject to discrimination, vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries, hate speech, and violent attacks. It is incumbent upon all of us to seek to break this endless cycle by rejecting antisemitism in all forms.”
This month, the United Nations adopted a resolution, supported by the United States, which outlined a definition of and condemned denial and distortion of the Holocaust. Holocaust denial has grown seemingly more prevalent with the help of social media, which allows dangerous ideas to proliferate around the world. Further, studies have shown that knowledge of the Holocaust is waning, a phenomenon that must be combatted with dedicated education programs and curricula.
“We must identify clearly, and repudiate plainly, antisemitism and other forms of religious hatred so that ‘never again’ is not just a phrase, it’s a commitment to all human beings,” said USCIRF Commissioner Sharon Kleinbaum. “This International Holocaust Remembrance Day passes while the U.S. Department of State is still without a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Professor Deborah Lipstadt, a renown Holocaust historian and expert on antisemitism, awaits her confirmation to this important position. USCIRF urges Congress to ensure that this key vacancy is swiftly filled.”
In July 2021, USCIRF welcomed Dr. Lipstadt’s nomination from President Joseph R. Biden. USCIRF’s recent activities related to combating antisemitism include a report released in April 2021 on Antisemitism in Europe: Implications for U.S. Policy and a corresponding virtual event. In September 2021, USCIRF released a factsheet on the destruction of cemeteries, which included a section focused on the targeting of Jewish cemeteries.
SOURCE United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
PHOTO CREDIT Russell Yarwood