U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said Holocaust denial is increasing throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East.
“There has been an upsurge in anti-Semitic acts, including hateful graffiti, cemetery desecrations, verbal and physical assaults on Jews, incitement to anti-Semitic violence, and cartoons demonizing Jews.”
– Ms. Clinton
Last week, the United States joined countries throughout the world in marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The UN held a ceremony at its New York Headquarters today to mark the International Day, which is observed annually on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
This year’s commemorations are dedicated to the children who faced the terror and tragedy of the Holocaust-those who lived and those whose lives were taken.
The event marked the culmination of a series of events held this week, focusing on the theme “Children and the Holocaust,” that included film screenings, exhibits and talks, sharing children’s stories during that era and spreading awareness of their experiences.
“As President Obama said, we recommitted ourselves to “keeping their memories alive not only in our thoughts, but through our actions.” This is a time to reflect on the meaning and lessons of “Never Forget, Never Again.”
– Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton stressed that denying the truth of the Holocaust is an insult to history.
She urges governments, civil society leaders, clerics, human rights groups, and all people of conscience in all nations to speak out against this kind of hatred.
She stressed that the United States will work with all of those who are committed to a world free of anti-Semitism and all other forms of ethnic or religious intolerance.
Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds perished. In particular, over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men.
Jews and others frequently use the term Shoah, Hebrew for “catastrophe,” to refer to the Holocaust. After the start of World War II, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler created forced-labor and death camps throughout Europe to execute the “final solution of the Jewish question.” The Nazis persecuted other groups they deemed racially ‘inferior,’ including Gypsies, the physically and mentally disabled, gays and lesbians, Soviet prisoners of war, Poles, communists and numerous minority groups. The Nazi regime initially constructed forced-labor camps to imprison Jews, but as early as 1941 built extermination camps designed solely for the quick and efficient mass murder of Jews and others.