Good evening. My name is Kevin Lipson, and on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and its Committee on Conscience, the Aspen Institute Justice & Society Program, and the United States Institute of Peace, I’m pleased to welcome you all here this evening.
As a member of the Museum’s Lawyers Committee, I have had the pleasure to be associated with this institution for quite a long time. Like you, I am moved by the force of will of the survivors and the compelling nature of their stories. And I am struck by the Museum’s many partnerships and educational programs that allow it to reach a wide and diverse audience.
But perhaps most impressive is the extraordinary relevance that this one horrific historical event has for so many people who seemingly have no personal connection to it. In fact, with the millions of people that the Museum reaches every year, there really is no limit to the issues that we deal with today that can and should be informed by Holocaust history.
It is a history that provides us with a unique window to human nature, both the good and the bad. But it also provides a compelling platform for each of us in our respective professional capacities to better understand the nature of our profession and the nature of our individual responsibility as a member of that profession and as a member of civilized society.
This is especially true for the legal profession, one that many of us here tonight share. After all, it is a fact of history that the Holocaust occurred through the rule of law, not in spite of law. And similarly, any measure of justice or accountability as it relates to the Holocaust or any other genocide will undoubtedly largely be realized through law.
Elie Wiesel said that a memorial unresponsive to the future would violate the memory of the past. This Museum embodies the commitment that Holocaust memory will stand in perpetuity to inspire humanity to effect a better future. That is a commitment we all must share. This evening’s program will be extraordinary. We have an incredibly distinguished panel. And to introduce that panel, I'm very pleased to introduce Meryl Chertoff, director of the Aspen Institute’s Justice & Society Program. Meryl?