Born: 1934, Lubochna, Czechoslovakia
Describes the importance of memorials [Interview: 2005]
When the Holocaust Council was first established and they began talking about building a memorial in Washington, I was very much opposed to it. I thought it should be built in Germany, there was no reason to build it in Washington, D.C. But when I saw the thousands and thousands of young people, schoolchildren, come to the Museum in the mornings when I would go to a meeting of the Council, I thought, "This is worth it." It's important, and we should have it every place, in every place in the world whether they had victims or not because it also establishes a certain universality of commitment against those crimes to have those things in many many places where these crimes weren't necessarily committed.
Now an international judge, Thomas Buergenthal was one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. He emigrated to the United States at the age of 17. He has served as judge and president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and as a member of the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador. Buergenthal was chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience. Buergenthal became a member of the International Court of Justice in March 2000, a seat he still occupies.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum