April 30, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — At this time of crisis for the State of Israel, which represents the survival of the Jewish people whose very existence was threatened during the Holocaust, the Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Fred S. Zeidman, expressed his grave concern about the recent surge in attacks on Jews, synagogues, and other Jewish institutions in Europe and elsewhere. Mr. Zeidman released the following statement:
“The rise in antisemitic acts and violence – especially those in Europe, where only 60 years ago Jews were being systematically murdered – is a cause of alarm for all who care about humanity. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was created so that the lessons of the Holocaust – the lessons of the dangers of antisemitism, racism, and hatred – could help future generations understand the grave consequences of apathy in the face of persecution and violence.
The Museum’s permanent exhibition depicts the increasing intensity of antisemitism in Germany and throughout Europe in the decades before the Holocaust began and the widespread indifference with which it was met. In those years before the outbreak of World War II, it was difficult to foresee that this would lead to the murder of six million Jews as well as millions of other victims of Nazi fanaticism. Now that we know where such acts of antisemitism and hatred can lead, it is with great alarm that we witness, once again, the rise of such conditions in the lands of the Holocaust and elsewhere. Through its work on the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research, the Museum works with these and other nations to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are not ignored. We call on governments, institutions, and individuals to address this resurgence with all available means, including vigorous law enforcement and prosecution, comprehensive educational initiatives, and civic activism.”