QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JERRY FOWLER: We have a little time, actually, for questions. We’ve put microphones at the base of each aisle, so if people have questions or wanted to interact a little bit with Rabbi Greenberg this would be the time. And we can take about 15 minutes, 20 minutes, to do this, and then we have the reception upstairs.
RABBI GREENBERG: The first question is always the hardest. No one likes to start.
QUESTION: Does the world remember?
JERRY FOWLER: The question is does the world remember?
RABBI GREENBERG: Obviously not enough because in fact, as we all are quite aware, there have been genocides in this decade that were not stopped. So the answer to your question, I believe, is that memory continues to spread.
I think we’ve had remarkable breakthroughs in this decade toward the spread of memory but it has not yet reached the level of intensity where it is enough of a factor to assure the proper intervention, which brings me back to the Committee on Conscience.
In other words we see this as another mechanism to make sure that as the memory spreads it is converted into a focus on specific actions to prevent genocide and so it’s a combination of both tasks at once.
I will say again what I said during the talk, that, however, the people that are most powerfully touched by memory have been the most willing to transform or to change policy accordingly and therefore that seems to be a measure of the test.
So if you want a quick indicator if you have a canary in the coal mine as to whether the task of memory is succeeding this would be it. To the extent that potential genocide arouses a greater attention and in fact forces governments to act would be a measure of how successful you have been in spreading the memory and then focusing it.
QUESTION: Isn’t it a good cause?
RABBI GREENBERG: Yes, we would certainly assert that obviously the Museum is one of many forces that have tried to spread the memory. There’s a famous Hasidic story of the two pockets. In one pocket you carry a thing that says, “I am dust and ashes,” and in the other pocket you carry something that says, “For my sake the world is created.” These are two famous Hasidic passages.
In one pocket we have to say that millions now, an extraordinarily high percentage of the American public, for example, is not only aware of the Holocaust but believes it should be taught and further expanded in the schools and so on.
In the other pocket we have to say that the truth is that it has not been sufficient to change the system yet and therefore this is the measure of how much further we have to go.
QUESTION: I’d like to raise a question. Genocide, of course, is a prime and the ultimate example of disregard for human life, disrespect for it, and denigration of human life.
How do you relate the dangers of genocide and the genocides that have occurred to the current fight against terrorism?
RABBI GREENBERG: Let me just make one side comment here which is we’re not just talking of theories, too. In the last 30 or 40 years I believe there was a serious prospect that had Israel lost any of its wars that we would have seen a genocide of its people.
It’s not an accident, I believe, that this fact was reflected in a culture where it still has the widest degree of denial of Holocaust or of a willingness to dismiss its dimensions and so on.
In other words during the period of the peak of communist power, again, as a nation and as a group it was prepared to support and encourage this possibility. I mean, Russia has several times restored Arab military power after they failed to carry out what would have been a genocidal war.
I believe it was directly reflected in the communists’ inability to come to grips with the Holocaust, that is to say, the denial of Jewish distinctiveness, the unwillingness to concede that there was responsibility here that was more than just fascist or capitalist and so on. So I believe there’s a direct correlation between openness to genocide and a culture’s ability to confront the Holocaust.
Now you’re asking me to apply the same question to the question of terrorism. I don’t want to claim that terrorism is the equivalent of the Holocaust, and I don’t want to claim that terrorism would be stopped by such consciousness but I think the issues are very parallel. I mean it in the following way. The hatred, the other-ing of the other, the ability to consider their lives unimportant or to be cheaply expended for a good cause, and you have to keep in mind that Nazism had also great religious fervor. Hitler’s dream was national socialism to perfect the world. It was a powerful force in SS ideology.
That same kind of thinking, that for a higher cause I can destroy and sacrifice human life, I think has been a major factor in terrorist operation and is a major factor in their ability to carry out terrorist actions.
Secondly, I think it’s also part of this. There is, I believe, a struggle of life and death or between life and death which I referred to all evening which I think goes on as culture. I’m sure many of you were struck by it if you read the letter that was left over by Mohammed Atta that was found in his car, the letter that almost one might say a kind of last testament, said to in this case a suicide bomber, a very powerful religious theme, and the central theme really was that this life, the life you and I live, is trivial and it’s dirty and it’s ugly, unimportant, compromised, but that within a few hours you’d be ready to reach this life of purity in a different world, not in this world.
So it was a kind of hatred of this life that runs through that letter and a kind of a fascination with the perfect, untouched-by-human-hands life that one would live in the next world. So by just going through this gesture, by going through with this action, one would move from this hateful, unworthy life to the pure life of purity. But I believe it’s a fascination with death that’s really implicit in this because this life is compromised and this life is equivocal and full of all kinds of dirty agreements so one has to seek out that purity and, of course, in so doing one not only renounces this life but takes the lives of many others with you.
I think Nazism had the same struggle, too. It was a search for purity that hates real life and this is one of the great struggles that we all go through, the ability to affirm this life and to come to grips with it and to experience its beauty and its power but in its limits, in its failures, in its brokenness is the antithesis.
Now, what the Holocaust represents is absolute kind of purity of ideal that becomes the enemy of life and falls in love with death which has a purity and a finality. Martyrdom has a long history of fascinating appeal in the Jewish tradition. It’s interesting. The rabbis turned against messianism or tried to repress it or limit it because they felt that in this desire for breakthroughs they were afraid would come a kind of a fascination with purity which leads to martyrdom and self-sacrifice but then you wipe away this life.
So in martyrdom is some very noble things but pushed a little further it becomes the enemy of life and falls in love with death. And I was very struck, and I’m sure many of you saw it in the papers that two or three days after the Towers tragedy and catastrophe they had this interview on television with the spokesman for Al Qaeda. And I don’t remember the exact language. I didn’t bring it with me. I should have. But he said roughly like this, he said I want to warn the Americans that they can have no security, no peace, because we’re coming after them. And he said Americans love life and we have thousands of people who love death and are prepared to make your life in effect impossible, miserable.
I forget the exact language but the heart of what he captured without maybe even being aware of it is that he had thousands of people who had fallen in love with this purity, which is the purity of death and not of life, and were prepared to sacrifice the lives of countless others for them. And I believe this is the same process that we’re fighting and struggling with over learning the lessons of the Holocaust.
To master the purity of ideology and control it, to break it up, that’s why I keep saying pluralism is one of the greatest and important lessons that flow from dealing with the aftermath of the Holocaust because we now understand that pure death-dealing, the kind that was possible there, is only possible when you override all limits and there are no powers to check.
And I believe that that is what terrorism constitutes, a kind of overriding of all limitations and desire to break through for your victory by stopping at nothing, be it your own death or the death of others.
JERRY SHESTACK: On another note there is obviously no restitution for genocide or an event like the Holocaust, but yet there have been efforts to bring perhaps some measure of restitution or solace to the survivors of the Holocaust.
And one of the heroes of that movement is in the audience today, Ambassador Stu Eizenstat, who really was the animator and the eminence gris and the activator of the whole reparations movement involving Holocaust survivors. Stu, is there any comment you would like to make?
MR. EIZENSTAT: I wanted to test a proposition which I don’t assert as fact but as more of an assertion that I’d like you to reply to or agree with or comment on.
If we look at our lifetime in terms of the major genocides that have occurred, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, and then Kosovo and Bosnia, in three of those four, that is, the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Cambodia, there was no external intervention at all and they basically went their course, perhaps two million people in Cambodia. Jerry Fowler mentioned today that 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda, 75 percent of the population, and, of course, the Jewish genocide, the Holocaust itself.
The only instance in which there was an intervention by the outside world, and that belatedly, was by NATO in Bosnia and then in Kosovo, the ethnic cleansing, and it seems to me that there may be two points to make here and this is what I’d like you to comment on.
One is that in at least the three where there was no intervention there was no constituency in any country that cared enough to pressure governments to act. The Jews didn’t do so. The Jewish community didn’t do so during World War II for reasons which can be debated. There was no constituency for the Cambodians. And the African American community really did not bring pressure on the government during the Rwanda-Burundi issue until very late in the game.
In the one instance in which there was an intervention, that is, the Kosovo- Bosnia situation, one could also argue that there was no domestic constituency, but there was something that didn’t exist in the other three, and that is it happened in Europe but it happened during an era of television and that the ethnic cleansing became so perverse and was communicated by CNN and other media that it almost forced policy makers to do something, number one.
Number two, having worked with Secretary Albright, given her own history, having fled Europe, and her own alertness to the Holocaust, she brought a great deal of pressure on our own government and on our own President to act. But I think that without her we still might not have done so but clearly without television that wouldn’t have occurred. And there was no television in Cambodia, there was no television except at the very end in Rwanda, and there was certainly obviously no television to bring it to people’s attention.
So in going back to the first question that was asked about does the world know, yes, the world knows about the Holocaust but one wonders if there is a constituency absent what the media may itself bring that will put enough pressure on governments to intervene.
And that gets back, actually, to the Committee on Conscience because we can help create that constituency and elevate it as has been done by the warning in Sudan and so forth. But I wonder if you would perhaps comment on that and whether even, knowing the Holocaust as it is, there is a sufficient constituency to act so that governments will be occasioned to do so?
One last point, and that is with respect to Cambodia and Rwanda both are very isolated countries and instances. It would be very difficult, having worked with presidents, for the President of the United States to commit military resources to isolated countries even under the most extenuating circumstance. Again, a distinction with Kosovo. It was on the European continent. NATO was there. There was a question after the Cold War, does NATO have any future, and it was almost embarrassed into action to show that it still had some relevance.
RABBI GREENBERG: Incidentally, before I answer the question, Jerry, since you were gracious and correct and accurate in describing Stu Eizenstat’s enormous contribution to the beginning of restitution and reparation I want to also acknowledge his unique, I believe, central role in making this Museum possible when he served as domestic advisor to the chief of staff in that area for President Carter. So we owe you a lot and this is one of them.
JERRY SHESTACK: I should add that the best person here to answer the question that Stu raised is Stu Eizenstat.
RABBI GREENBERG: I welcome Jerry’s and Stu’s comment, too. I’ll just say again that I think you’re drawing attention to the important mechanisms that operate from theoretical considerations into real policies. Constituencies make enormous difference, no question about it, and therefore again my argument is that what you have shown us is the way in which the Committee can function effectively.
It can’t just think in general terms. It has to seek to focus and find those constituencies and involve them in this process of concern to fight genocide. I personally think that even the failures to respond and the criticism that followed of Cambodia and of Rwanda reflect a certain growing sensitivity and awareness of the Holocaust.
Obviously it’s not enough to say we’re criticizing or we’re ashamed that we didn’t act is what counts, but I think we’re seeing the beginning of such constituencies that are based not on a specific ethnic background but on the sensitivity to the issue and to the moral challenge involved.
I honestly think a big factor here in America particularly is that America, having been sheltered from suffering on its home territory, the Presidents feared this kind of intervention. We know that was a major factor in President Clinton’s hesitation, the fear that the public would not stand for casualties.
I think that’s changing, just as I believe, unfortunately, partly because Americans now recognize that they are vulnerable and that we’re not exempt from these kinds of losses and a recognition that evil not stopped somewhere else can came into your own home territory.
So there is a real human experiential factor that’s educating and creating a different kind of constituency. So I don’t know. This is an interesting challenge. I see no reason to be cynical about it. Can we ever reach through pure moral teaching or through emotional identification with such suffering and such failure in the Holocaust to create a constituency powerful enough to change policy?
I can’t answer the question yet because we haven’t done it but I believe such steps already are in the making and that’s what you’re pointing to.
And so we can’t do it alone. Media don’t do it alone. There are many factors that play a role but as more policy makers grow up in a world where they do in some sense experience the shame of the past failure or understand the intensity of the failure in the Holocaust all of these factors make future intervention more likely. And I believe in that sense you are not only calling attention to the right tactics but helping us think through what the Committee has to do.
JERRY SHESTACK: Just a brief comment. Santayana once said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and we keep repeating it in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and other places. And people do forget and afterwards they see the consequences and perhaps are sorry and then repeat it again. I don’t know how we get that kind of constituency. Certainly the increased attention by the media helps it.
One of the reasons President Bush is able to take such strong measures as he is taking right now is because public opinion supports them and if you could muster public opinion on behalf of an intervention or to prevent an incipient genocide leaders do follow what public opinion requires.
How you do that, for one thing the involvement of every citizen in terms of making his views known and letting the support for such matters as intervention being known, those help create a constituency that leaders listen to.
But it is a great mystery why time after time we see a tragic situation like has occurred over in the world since the Holocaust and yet the nations are reluctant to intervene and prevent something which is preventable if they had acted in time.
RABBI GREENBERG: I’m struck by the fact that Cambodia is now trying to create a museum to both educate their future generations and to make the world aware. In Rwanda we had visits from people with the same thing in mind. I think people on the contrary do recognize and believe that this process of arousing consciousness translates into potential support for future action to stop it.
And so in that sense I think you say we’re surprised that it happens again and again but, again, the rules are pretty clear again. It happens more likely in weaker countries. That was one of the main lessons people learned from the Holocaust, that potential victims have to become strong enough to protect themselves. This is all part of the ongoing spelling out of this and it is also more likely to happen, as you heard, in an isolated country where there’s less attention.
So all of these factors as they become more widely understood I think will operate in our favor, so to speak, in the future.
JERRY FOWLER: You’ve been very patient.
QUESTION: The ambassador partly anticipated my question. You mentioned the Committee being established in 1995. To what extent did the Rwanda events of 1994 directly contribute to that?
RABBI GREENBERG: I wasn’t serving at the time in a leadership role. Maybe I should ask Miles [Lerman] and perhaps Sarah [Bloomfield], although she was not director at the time, was still here. Perhaps they may have some comment.
MILES LERMAN: Well, essentially the creation of the Committee on Conscience was just the fulfillment of a mandate that was given to us. I always compare it to a domestic item. We got the stool with three legs and when we have gotten the mandate to create the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, one of the mandates, one of the legs of these three, was the creation of the Committee on Conscience. Have we been motivated by the Rwanda incident? Perhaps.
But on the other hand I want to point out another thing. In my travels on behalf of the Museum not once in a while but more than once in awhile I’m being asked for god’s sake, it’s 60 years. The world knows it by now. Why don’t you let go? Why are you fanning the flames of hatred?
Now, I am capable of answering why don’t you let go but I am not capable of answering people that are listening to us and still say why do you fan the flames of hatred. We recognize that the Holocaust is such an enormous cataclysm that there is no way, there is no formula, how to do good for it. The only thing what we are trying to do, what we have tried to when we started the Museum, is to use these horrible memories, to use these horrible experiences, as a lesson and as a warning to society.
And let me say this to you. I do not believe that the track record of humankind is so excellent that we can leave it to itself. I think we have a job to do. I think that the mere fact that we are sitting here tonight and we have listened to your excellent, excellent presentation of thought, I think this is part of it and this must be part of it.
So to answer your question we do not have an exclusive to suffering. We wish we would get rid of that exclusivity. Historically we didn’t do too well on it. Maybe Sarah, who has been with us 12, 13, years, since today, maybe you have another point of view?
SARA BLOOMFIELD: Just something that was actually on Stu’s line of thinking as well, which is about all the media exposure that happens. Even in the press even if Rwanda and Cambodia were not on television as much as the others it was not like the Holocaust. It was so widely reported, front-page news, major news.
At the museum, we did an exhibit of Time-Life photographs of the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and there was a big debate among the staff whether we should have walls or warnings because of the very graphic nature of that imagery. And, of course, we have those walls in the permanent exhibition after a lot of debate.
And we didn’t have that warning. It was out, actually, in the tile wall area, where many children go. And we had no comments, none, no complaints. And I wondered if it was that there is so much exposure to this imagery today and if people become complacent and how can we build a constituency if the images become commonplace and if there’s also at the same time a sense well, there’s these human rights organizations that are handling these things. They’re the advocates. And we’re really talking about building a different kind of constituency, more of a grass roots constituency that can begin to affect policy in lots of other ways.
I’m not sure there’s a question embedded here but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about in terms of Stu’s comments and yours.
MR. EIZENSTAT: My question originally was your question relating September 11th and the threat of terrorism but I just wanted to share a real quick comment that I heard from a gentleman in Baltimore who is a survivor of Auschwitz and I’ve known him for many years. He speaks widely and frequently in Baltimore on his experiences.
And I saw him the Sabbath after September 11th and he said well, we’ve obviously learned nothing from the Holocaust and what happened is an example. And I’m just sharing his thought and am interested in your reaction in light of comments that were just made.
RABBI GREENBERG: Well, of course, the other thing that you’ve got to point out is that he said we’ve learned nothing but we did not hijack planes and smash them into the towers et cetera, et cetera.
They were concrete individuals and those concrete individuals who drove the plan, et cetera. Again, my feeling is that we, and the collective “we” now, have not yet created the combination of constituency mechanism, sensitivity, that is able to be a worldwide force but that this is now a policy factor I think is self-evident.
And so, again, without sounding complacent my feeling is that the American people are much more sensitized to evil and the need to stop it as well as to the dangers than they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago, and I think at least one of the major contributory factors, and I don’t want to say it’s the only one, is the growth of consciousness of the Holocaust.
QUESTION: Could I take the liberty of just responding to Mr. Eizenstat’s comments and the distinction he proposed between the response to Rwanda and Cambodia and that in Bosnia because the factors which he mentioned, namely television and isolation, seem to me of much lesser relevance than the simple factor of race.
And I think we have to face that. There’s a bitter irony in thinking of race, racial distinctions, as being an impediment to the recognition and combating of genocide. But in those cases it seems to me clearly to have been a factor if not the essential or the only one but surely an important one.
JERRY SHESTACK: To the question, have we learned anything from the Holocaust, I think the answer to that is we have learned something. I think this Museum is a good example of it.
Through the people who march through and see our exhibits, through the exhibits that we send around the country, to the literature that we promote, to the studies that you find, Holocaust studies in colleges and universities and schools throughout the country, I think people have learned the capability of evil that is possible in the human condition and the need to war against it.
I think that to a large extent many of the people in our nation are more introspective and more concerned about how could we have a world where a Holocaust could be created. Now, it’s not enough and there’s always a danger that these lessons can be forgotten as time goes by but I would say that this nation and our leaders have learned something from the Holocaust and that it has had an effect on our policies and on our place in the world.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you. I just want to respond to Professor Lang and then we’ll take two more questions.
RABBI GREENBERG: To that last comment about race as a factor I can’t deny that it may well be a factor but, again, I’d like to connect that to a certain aspect of our lessons from the Holocaust, too. It’s not easy to kill six million people.
Emotionally and morally a lot of the people who carried it out, after all, had been raised in a culture that said thou shalt not kill, et cetera, so one of the keys to the successful mass murder was to degrade the victims before you killed them.
And, again, there’s a demonic, profound genius that runs through the system. You know the obvious cases. The use of numbers rather than names, for example, in Auschwitz. I mean, this was one of the things that makes possible mass killing of people is you treat them as things to be numbered, not as people who one hesitates to kill.
So there’s no question that the lack of equality based on color of skin or on religion or nationality may well predispose people to be more or less likely to try to save somebody. That is something, again, which we all have to wrestle with.
So my point is one learns in the Holocaust that you can’t wait till the death before you deal with this issue because it starts with a stereotype or with minor degradation or with dismissal and it turns into a more radical kind of stereotype and then the claim that the Jews are other and the Jews are killers and uncanny. And then the Jews prey on children and are sexual predators and bloodsuckers and so on.
And as each step becomes more drastic the victim is potentially more killable or more degradable. So you’re calling our attention to an important point, that racism is not merely a problem of stereotyping and of discrimination, but it also lowers the guard and weakens humanity’s will to prevent mass murder.
But I think, again, the lesson is no less. In other words we all have to systematically explore and develop and apply these principles to make people aware of how language, presentation, and hundreds of other ways raise or lower the salience, the dignity, of the other and in turn makes us more likely or less likely to try to save them.
I mean, this is something that every system, I feel, every culture, every language, every religion has to go through now. Is there something in my tradition that puts down or makes less valuable the lives of others? I mean, it’s a major crisis, I believe, in all religions.
And I think Islam does have a major problem on its hands because the issue is not just the terrorists. The issue is the extent to which not having gone through this process of exposure to other religions and other people which Christianity and Judaism had to do because of modernity that in it has allowed pockets of this inside/ outside morality to remain strong and it has to be deal with.
But I believe Christianity’s act is not yet fully cleaned up on Judaism. Every religion in the world that has to stop and look at its own culture, language, values, and ask do we make white skin more valuable and therefore we’re less likely to save black lives or do we make Jewish skin more valuable and are therefore less likely to save nonJewish lives, et cetera.
This is a major challenge and I do believe that confronting the Holocaust and understanding it brings us to a much greater sensitivity to this. Until we do that that’s another obstacle to intervention to save lives, and it’s a major task ahead of us.
JERRY FOWLER: Yes?
QUESTION: Last question, right?
JERRY FOWLER: Last two questions. Maybe we’ll just take both questions and then we’ll have the answer.
QUESTION: I wanted to thank you first for the brilliance of your presentation tonight. I was real honored to be exposed to it.
Now, on the US Supreme Court building there are the words “Justice is the Guardian of Liberty.” We know in this society if a single life is taken we’re indictable for the offense of homicide and subject to be executed depending upon the severity of the crime.
It’s certain that in a Holocaust the infamous nature of the event is cataclysmic and yet when we look at the body of international law to in effect bring international justice to bear for the immensity of those crimes there is something lacking. There is the basis for comity, basis for saying not only is one life lost but thousands and millions have been lost.
My question is where are we in the development of the norms and mores of international law to in effect bring the mass murderers of the world to the bar of justice and to prevent these events as time passes?
The Twentieth Century Book of the Dead [indecipherable] is chock-full of too many experiences. Hopefully the 21st Century won’t have a similar book but things are not looking too well.
I think we have to look to international jurists to come forth and make the arguments and in effect, as you’ve argued tonight, make governments, particularly democratic governments, responsible and accountable for international justice just as they are responsible for domestic justice in their own societies.
JERRY FOWLER: Thank you. Why don’t we take this last question, and then we’ll answer both of them?
QUESTION: Okay, it’s not really a question but I wanted to just resonate to your statement that Islam may have a problem. I don’t remember if it was exactly Mullah Mohammed Omar but one of the questions that has arisen is the possibility of nuclear weapons, dirty bombs, et cetera. What’s going on? Is that really a capability of Al Qaeda?
And the answer was no, we do not have nuclear weapons because if we had them we would have already used them, which I thought is really something about being in love with death in a way.
And I just wanted to finish briefly by saying I remember being at the dedication of this museum and many, many government officials were there, President Clinton, Vice President Gore. Many, many speeches were made about the Holocaust and it was Eli Wiesel who turned to President Clinton and confronted him and said you are the one who can do something about Bosnia and this building is just wood, bricks, et cetera if it isn’t going to help you and your government do something about it now.
And I just wanted to finish on that note, that that was the dedication of this very building.
JERRY SHESTACK: Dealing with the matter of international law, if you look at the situation at the time of World War II and the Holocaust there was no international law that protected the individual. The individual counted for nothing. And there was really out of the Nazi experience and the Holocaust that the international law of protection of life and human rights for individuals developed.
The UN Charter had as one of its basic premises the protection of individual life and dignity and the protection of fundamental freedoms. The Genocide Convention in 1948 was the first international convention dealing with the subject of genocide, and then the Universal Declaration of Human Rights dealt with the subjects of life and all other forms of human rights, a kind of bill of rights for the world.
However, they were not implemented and it took a long period before international treaties developed through the 1950s and 1960s covering such matters as torture, racial discrimination, religious intolerance, civil and political rights, economic and social rights.
By now there is a highly developed field of international law but the implementation of it still suffers. There is no international criminal court, for example. In dealing with Rwanda and former Yugoslavia special international criminal courts have been established by the Security Council to deal with war criminals but the definition of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and various other crimes defined in both humanitarian law and other international law is fairly well developed.
So one of the things that emerged out of World War II is now we do have a system of international law to protect the individual. How you implement that is still the challenge for our times.
This is a slow process. The development of international law and its implementation is not a sport for the short-winded and, of course, in 50 years we’ve made progress, but think back in the United States, for example. The first 50 years after the Bill of Rights we had alien and sedition laws. None of the Bill of Rights applied to the various states. They didn’t apply to the states until fairly late into the 20th Century. So progress in the law does not go quickly.
(Interruption of tape)
RABBI GREENBERG: But if after all the suffering there are still Jews left the Jewish people will be held up as an example. In other words presumably they’re going to live better or try harder.
Who knows? Maybe our religion will teach the world and all people that goodness. Then she says we can never be just Dutch or just English or whatever; we will always be Jews as well. We’ll have to keep on being Jews, but then we’ll want to be.
Now, it seems to me that this applies not just to Jews. What she’s trying to say is that for anybody who has encountered the intensity of this pain and suffering the human response, and it’s almost as much emotional and human as it is thought-through or philosophical, is somehow having seen how life can be made cheap I have this intense need to restore its value and its preciousness. Having seen how weakness can be exploited and cruelly crushed, I have to organize to give strength to potential victims.
And whatever we’ve done in the past in terms of law, international law or intervention to help others, we have done more in the last few decades but it’s such a little bit more, but to me that is the test in that in a sense what we have to do is get more people to understand this experience and to evoke that human response.
And I’m very moved by a lot of people who go through the museum give that response, evoke that very human response of increasing life or increasing responsibility or increasing justice. And I think that is the task the Committee on Conscience, if it does its work right, if we organize right, can make one distinct contribution and that is in the area of genocide, but that will be part of a mosaic, I hope, of a world someday in which people do remember not just the Holocaust but other such experiences and intensify the commitment to life.
JERRY FOWLER: Well, thank you all. I would like to invite all of you to continue this conversation upstairs in the Hall of Witness where we have an informal reception, and thank you all very much for coming.