tv U.S. Holocaust Museum Marks Days of Remembrance CSPAN May 5, 2016 8:35pm-9:46pm EDT
>> ladies and gentlemen, tom bernstein, chairman of the united states holocaust memorial council. ,om: good morning and welcome distinguished guests, friends of the museum, and especially holocaust survivors. in a few minutes, we will welcome the flags of the u.s. army divisions that liberated -- the nazi --azi concentration camps. this stirring ceremony fills us
our the pride and awe of security forces then and now 75 years ago, as late as the spring of 1941, our nation overwhelmingly opposed fighting the nazis. the election campaign the previous year, president franklin roosevelt was up against powerful isolationists such as charles lindbergh, one of the most revered men in america. in response of being accused of plotting to enter the war, fdr made a campaign pledge to the mothers and fathers of america and said, "your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars. after being reelected, fdr pushed his legislation through congress. his critics called it a dictatorship bill. he called it the creation of the arsenal of democracy, reflecting broad public sentiment at the time. senator taft of ohio said war is
worse than a german victory. while part of our country was busy keeping america out of the war, others were busy keeping refugees out of america. it was reported that the not nazis were bribing jewish immigrants. this outlandish claim made reducing immigration an important national security measure. the state department imposed even harsher restrictions on those trying to escalate persecution and violence. in that pivotal year, 40% of all immigration applications were rejected and less than half of the quota was filled even though hundreds of thousands of jews desperately sought to escape. a trickle of a few thousand was admitted to a nation of 133 million. year fora pivotal another reason.
on the other side of the world, began tonted events unfold that barely penetrated american consciousness or public concern. our doors were shutting as the systematic murder of jews was beginning with the invasion of the soviet union. that the time, it did not seem like we were consigning the jews to sure death, but that is indeed what happened. overcome by our fears and a failure of imagination, we allowed xenophobia and anti-semitism to shape our policies. of course, 1941 would end with another pivotal event, the attack on pearl harbor. even after america's entry into the war, it would take most 3.5 years to defeat not theism -- n aziism. that was an eternity for the doomed jews of europe.
by the time they reached the camps, they found a tiny remnant of what had been. so today, as we watch these flags, we are reminded of our profound gratitude to those 16 million americans who served in world war ii. a few of whom are here today. we are losing 430 veterans every day, but our gratitude is an during -- enduring. we remind ourselves that the very freedom they fought to preserve is always fragile. every one of us has a responsibility to protect it. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of the flags of the united states army liberating divisions, followed by the national colors. ?
>> 29th infantry division. ? >> 11th armored division. ? >> 30th infantry division. ? >> 10th armored division. ? >> 36th infantry division. ? >> ninth armored division. ? >> 42nd infantry division. ? >> eighth armored division. ? >> 45th infantry division. ? >> sixth armored division. ? >> 63rd infantry division. ? >> fourth armored division.
>> ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, ambassador ron dermer of the state of israel. >> chairman bernstein, senators, members of congress, fellow ambassadors, world war ii veterans and above all, the survivors and their families who are here today, we are the gathered here to remember the murder of 6 million jews and the
murder of 1.5 million jewish children. to remember a civilization capable of producing a gutenberg and a beethoven was also capable of producing a goebbels and hitler. to remember the leaders who sent brave soldiers also turned away refugees on the st. louis. to remember the righteous -- 70 years after the holocaust, the task of remembering should not be difficult. seven decades is not long enough for ghettos and rail cards, let alone death camps and crematoriums, to fade from our collective memory. what has largely been forgotten is the powder keg of hatred that
preceded the violence against the jews of europe. a powder cake that has been filled to the brim by the vilification and slandering of the jews throughout the ages. for more than two millennia, the jew was typecast as the enemy of mankind. we were depicted as the poisoners of wells, the spreaders of plague, the murderers of children. even the murderers of god. no doubt come a combustible mix of national, economic and social factors in 1930's germany helped light the fuse. without the powder keg of hatred, such a lethal explosion would never have been possible. while this horrific explosion has been seared into our collective consciousness, the powder keg of hatred has been
largely forgotten. we have forgotten that anti-semitism did not begin in nazi germany. we have forgotten that this hatred has transcended time and space, faith and cultures. we have forgotten the names -- we have forgotten what happened over 2000 years ago in alexandria or what happened 1000 years ago in -- the irony is that the holocaust is the main reason we have forgotten. because of its unprecedented scale and scope, because of its unfathomable premeditation and unimaginable cruelty, the holocaust has been a blinding sun linking -- blanking out the stars of anti-semitism.
just as the hatred of jews do not begin with the holocaust, -- did not begin with the holocaust, hatred of the jews did not end with the holocaust. for a time, this was not fully understood. for a half-century after auschwitz, it was politically incorrect to openly hate jews. but those days are over. hating jews is fashionable once again. you can see it in the fbi statistics which show that of all the anti-religious hate crimes in america, 57% are perpetrated against jews. you can also see it in how the old hatred of the jewish people has become a new hatred of the jewish faith. the slanderer's depiction of israel as a perpetrator of
genocide once again casts the jews as the enemy of mine kind -- mankind. these lies are believed not just by the ignorant, but also by the educated. as statements by the swedish foreign minister and facebook posts of british parliamentarian s can attest -- a former mayor of london even declared hitler supporter of zionists. only in the thickest of minds can a monster who was committed to the strangers -- the return of anti-semitism as a force in the world should surprise no one. sadly, the aberration just a few decades after the holocaust when
anti-semitism was taboo. while this age old hatred has returned, this time, things are different. this time, the jewish people are no longer a stateless and powerless people. the founders of zionism hoped that the establishment of israel would end anti-semitism. they believe that the semitism persisted in the modern world because the jews were a minority everywhere and a majority nowhere. they believed that the jews would be treated like all the nations if they had a state. today, this belief has ironically been flipped on its head as the turn of the 20th century, many believed the cause of anti-semitism was that the jews did not have a state. at the turn of the 21st century,
many people believe the cause of anti-semitism is the jews do have a state. one century ago, the calls of the anti-semites was jews, go to palestine. now, it is jews, get out of palestine. the establishment of israel is neither the cure for nor the cause of anti-semitism. the establishment of israel did give the jewish people the ability to fight back against anti-semitism and gave the jewish people a voice among the nations to fight slander with truth. it gave the jewish people the ability to defend themselves when the powder keg of hatred inevitably erupts into violence.
on this solemn day, let us remember those who perished in the holocaust and the horrors they and the survivors endured, but let's also remember the hatred. let's be grateful that isaiah's -- that the jews are once again a sovereign nation and that isaiah's ancient promise is coming true. from the stump of jesse has come forth the shoot, issued that now rooted in its ancient soil is growing stronger and stronger and is more determined than ever to secure the jewish future. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, sara bloomfield, director of the u.s. holocaust memorial museum.
>> thank you. ellie weizel said the answer -- the museum is not an answer, it is the question. so too was the holocaust. there are endless questions. how could so many torture and kill? why did so few help? what enabled the victims to cope? the experience of the victims is unimaginable. true understanding is not possible, but perhaps we can gain some insight with stories and sadly, there are millions of them. in the ghetto, a rabbi dedicated his life to jewish religion teaching and values and he remains unshaken over several
years of unspeakable events to this very dedication. he hid treasure to jewish books and taught clandestine classes to young people and adults. that in itself was extraordinary, but he did something more. he gave a unique kind of spiritual leadership that both reflected and reacted to the horrific circumstances. he preserved faith and community and skillfully adapted them to survivability. the rabbi actively encouraged ghetto residents to continue traditional practices, posing questions, seeking advice. he painstakingly researched his answers. catastrophe may have changed the question, but for him, it did
not change the importance of long-standing religious principles. i want to share three of his with you at first, the germans had brought stray dogs and cats to a house of religious study, where they shot them. they held several jews at gunpoint to rip apart a poor escrow and use the sheet of parchment to cover the carcasses of the dead animals. having committed a sacrilege, these individuals asked the rabbi what to do. his response, those who witnessed the torah being torn were obligated to rend their garments. a jewish express love morning -- expression of mourning. actually tore the scroll, even though they had to do so at gunpoint, had to fast. if they could not fast because
of physical weakness, one could not obligate them to fast. ae second example involves storeroom filled with clothing that once belonged to jews that had been murdered. the question was, could the garments be used again? his response, "since the garments had no bloodstains, they must have been removed before the victims were killed. therefore, they could be worn notably by the victim's heirs, but by others as well." he said, "the murdered souls would unquestionably derive spiritual satisfaction from the fact that there surviving covered inthren were
garments that once belonged to them. the last came from a 12-year-old boy devoted to studying the torah. that children were a main target, he asked if you might be permitted -- if he might be permitted to observe the adult ritual, despite the fact that his bar mitzvah was three months away. therabbi wrote, "i ruled precious child to merit the privilege of fulfilling this m itzvah." then the rabbi himself posed a question. he asked, "who could a short that -- could assure that the boy would live three months and reach the age of 13?" now the nature of these questions, of those asking the
questions, and the rabbi's responses -- this epitomizes, for me, the ultimate inhuman dignity. they provide a glimpse of community struggling to stay alive in a notion of in community. == in an ocean of unhaminity. -- ocean of inhumanity. the rabbi and his followers offered an example of what i hope i could have done. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the u.s. secretary of commerce. >> today we gather to remember
the unspeakable event of the holocaust, a horror that resulted in the murder of men, women, and children throughout europe, including 6 million jews and millions of roma and others. 6 million is an impossible number to comprehend. we tried to intellectualize the quantity, but we cannot begin to breadthhe breath of -- dr of humanity behind that figure. yet we must never forget, every day of remembrance, we come together to try and remember the millions of lives. the sons and daughters, the mothers and fathers, the friends and neighbors who died in the holocaust. for every number, a name. and behind every name, a story.
many of you here today have personal stories of the holocaust. through the lives you lead, you share these stories with your children, with your grandchildren, with students, with visitors to the holocaust museum. ensure your stories, you that those you lost are never forgotten. ahrough your words, you craft living history that honors their memory. i say this so that we can reflect on the point that words have power. we humans have within us the capacity to create realities, good and evil. with speech and with our words. when a holocaust survivor speaks about the death of a loved one who perished in the death camps or in the ghettos or in the
killing fields, she creates a memorial in the minds of all who hear her story. the inverse is also true. when a nazi poster placed in a town square says that jews are the defiler of the race, it strips the jewish people of their community in the lines of all who see it. yesterday's neighbors become today enemy. the holocaust is a lesson about the power of words and language. it is the most extreme example of what happens when we let our hate and fear of the other shape our speech. firstbefore the concentration camp opened, and more than a decade before kristallnacht, the matches begin to pollute europe with their speech -- the nazis began to
pollute europe with their speech and language. they used hate speech to justify their eventual atrocities. this happens again and again throughout history. 5 decades before the holocaust, my family fled ukraine after the russian-- second hadder the been assassinated one month earlier. rumors spread, the jews were responsible. erupted across russia. my then-10-year-old great-grandfather hid in the attic for more than 60 hours. when the violence had subsided, they discovered their grain store had been destroyed. fearing for their safety, my entire family emigrated to chicago later that year. the program that drove my family out of czarist russia was fueled
in part by a leaflet distributed by the southern russian workers union. the leaflet said, "one should not beat the jew because he has a jew and praise to god in his own way. brother, one should beat him because he is robbing the people. he is sucking the blood of the working man." imagine my great-grandfather's horror when he traveled to berlin in 1934. more than 50 years later. and saw the same bigoted speech spreading across germany. at the time, he wrote "nazi germany is nearly history repeating itself. the case of the few being used as scapegoats." my great-grandfather visited
berlin at almost the exact same time that the nazi hate speech was beginning to translate into state implemented marginalization of the jews. if there was ever a time for the german people to stand up against the bigotry of their government, 1934 was it. and yet most germans stood idly by and watched the nuremberg race laws implemented. effectively purging jews from german society. realities, good and evil. friend inpeech has a silence. not germans do not, did murder jews or roma. but every person who knew what was happening in the death camps
and chose to go about their as complicit with the atrocities. my good friend calls them the tribe of the folded arms, as they bear their share of guilt. silence is dangerous because it spreads the notion that the problems of your neighbor are not your problems. with the liamiliar tany, first they came for the socialists. to this day, many used his words to illustrate that you cannot tolerate discrimination against others. because one day, take will come -- hate will come in knocking on your door. but this litany also underscores the important point that institutional discrimination is gradual.
first, they came for the socialists, then the trade unionists, later the jews. first you lost your job as he spoke out. later you lost your job just for being jewish. first you are moved from your home into the ghetto. later, years later, you were sent in cattle cars to auschwitz. societies do not move from a good to evil overnight. the challenge of the gradual descent into hate is to speak out early enough and loud enough to reverse its course. today, in our beloved united states, we are witnessing a rising fear of the other. the southern poverty law center recently surveyed teachers across the country about how the rhetoric of this election is affecting their students.
more than 2/3 reported that their students, mainly immigrants, children of immigrants, and muslims, are worried about what might happen to them after the election. morethan 1/3 are seeing anti-muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment in their classrooms. with me be clear, i do not think a holocaust is possible in america. but i worry about what happens when we betray the principles of inclusion. ehat form thw foundation of our country. freedom of speech gives us the right to speak our mind. it is a precious right. but it does not free us from the responsibility of the consequences of our words. this right should not be used to dehumanize others with language.
as americans, we have a choice. do we give in to the language to fear? do we sit with our arms folded while words are used to the humanized other fellow human beings? -- dehumanize other fellow human beings? four do we stand up and speak out? during my great-grandfather's trip to berlin in 1934, he and my uncle were eating lunch one day when a group of nazi supporters headed, by a band, entered the cafe. tables were pushed together. fiery speeches were made. eventually, one speaker called for a toast to hitler. everyone in the restaurant stood up and gave the salute. looking at jay, my great grandfather said, what do we do now? do we rise?
only 14 years old at the time said, grandpa, are we cowards? then we do not rise, nor salute. visitingle, a teenager a foreign country, where the sidewalks are covered in posters proclaiming his people a menace to humanity, had the courage to stick to his principles, what is the excuse for our silence? my great grandfather and uncle made silence their descent -- dissent at a time when drawing attention to their faith and belief was not just unwise, but dangerous. their silence was powerful. it was justified. ours is not. countrys live in a
built on the ideals of inclusion and tolerance. we are a country that celebrates the dignity of difference. we are better than the language of heat. -- language of hate. america is not the tribe of the folded arms. if one of the lessons of the holocaust is that thou shalt not be silent, then today on this day of remembrance, we should honor the memories of the millions who were murdered by speaking up against heat speech we encounter 00 -- hate speech we encounter in our own lives. the torah teaches us that you must not go around slandering your fellow human beings. you must not stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake. our neighbor's lives, their dignity, their community, --
their humanity are at stake. we cannot stand idly by. never forget that life and death are in the hands of speech. may we never forget the stories of the millions signaled out for annihilation, the jewish people, the roma, and sons and daughters all across europe by the unspeakable horror of the holocaust. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, allan holt, vice-chairman of the united states holocaust memorial council. mr. holt: good morning.
pritzker, thank you for your wonderful comments. as jewish families recently celebrated passover, they recalled deliverance from slavery and newfound freedom. for families like mine, passover has added meaning because the very notions of freedom and family carry extra significance when all of one's grandparents were killed in the holocaust. thankfully, my parents, like the jews fleeing egypt, were eventually liberated. born in separate towns in poland, their combined holocaust experience reads like a catalog of the most infamous places. , auschwitz.etto
after managing to survive by their wits and sheer luck, my parents met serendipitously during the chaotic moments when they were liberated by american troops. and survived they did, as they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. when i see the flags behind me representing the u.s. army divisions that liberated the camps, i know that i stand here today only because of the current -- the courage and sacrifice of one of those divisions. and to the world war ii veterans here today, i want you to know that there are no words to express the gift you gave to my parents. you gave them not only freedom, you gave them hope. america always was and remains
for them, a deacon of hope. -- a beacon of hope. it was that hope that was so crucial as i struggle to rebuild their shattered lives. the resilience of the survivors is truly remarkable. but most remarkable of all is that although they were subject to the most inhumane treatment, they never lost their humanity. although the world abandoned to them, they never abandoned the world. they could have responded to hate with more hate to violence with more violence. they did not. despite being tested in ways the rest of us find unimaginable, they retained their compassion and dignity. that should be a source of inspiration and hope to all of us. yet today, as we honor the
survivors and celebrate their extraordinary resilience, we must never forget that forces that made them victims in the first place. dangerous forces that are resurgent today -- anti-semitism, hate, extremism. so as we light these memorial candles and think about those who were killed, we must never andet why they were killed that their killing was preventable. that is the challenge to each of us. the challenge of holocaust memory. assisting in the candle lighting ceremony. a junior at eastern high school, and a graduate of the museum's
youth leadership program, areired by her parents, who both graduates of the program, she hopes to become a role model and leader among youth in her community. i will now like to ask senator ben cardin of maryland to stand by the first candle. the first candle will be lit by anna gross of romania. as a teenager, ana was supported to house which, where her mother and two of her sisters were murdered. she survived forced labor before liberation in 1945. after theodora's parents were
the third candle will be lit from a survivor from vienna.following the deportation of his father, he and his mother were deported, or they survived until liberation. -- where they survived until liberation. thank you senator cardin. i would like to ask congressman bob meyer of virginia to standby for the fourth candle. the fourth candle will be lit by a survivor of poland. following germany's invasion of
poland, her father smuggled the family to belarus, where they were deported to a log in siberia. -- to a gulag in siberia by the soviets. they later relocated to curse extend, where they remained until the end of the war. the fifth candle will be lit by a survivor born in amsterdam. with the assistance of the dutch resistance, three-year-old leo was hidden with a couple in amsterdam whilst his parents were able to find shelter in an attic elsewhere in the city. they had no contact until they reunited in 1945.
the sixth candle will be lit by two survivors. 10-year-old alfred was sent by his parents on a kinder transport to england, where he was welcomed by a host family. he served in the british and israeli armies. brussels.born in her mother first hid her in a convent, and later with a christian family. alfred and josie-ann volunteer at the museum, along with her mother, a survivor of auschwitz. thank you congressman meyer. and thank you to all of the
americans. they will analyze job security, economic mobility, and savings practices. be sure to watch washington journal, live at 7:00 a.m. eastern every friday morning. join the discussion. on friday, a discussion about how isis is using the internet and social media to recruit supporters. the congressional internet caucus advisory committee hosted the event, looking at efforts to combat isis online. that is live at noon eastern on c-span two. >> in both iraq and afghanistan, with countries had their constitutions a facilitator of agreement on key issues among iraqis and afghans. your influence is considerable. the heads of state and government are anxious to meeting with you. >> sunday night on q&a, former
ambassador to afghanistan, iraq, and the united nations discusses his memoir "the enjovoy." >> we saw that the extremists exploited. although we then corrected it toward the end of the period i was there, by the search, by reaching out to the sunnis, by building up iraqi forces, by establishing a unity government. violence was way down, but unfortunately when we left, the vacuum was filled by rival regional powers, pulling iraq apart, the violence is slated. now we have isis. >> on c-span's human day. -- q&a. >> a discussion about global anti-semitism hosted by indian university. the keynote address was
delivered by a former canadian attorney general and founder of the role won't work center for human rights. this is an hour and 10 minutes. >> as one of only two research institutes in the nation dedicated to the explosion of anti-semitism in modern context, the institutes of the study for contemporary anti-semitism is a source of great pride for indiana university. moreover, the institute has made invaluable competitions to the bloomingdale community, by bringing leading scholars to campus from all parts of the globe to share their experiences, expertise, and perspectives. this weeks'conference alone has brought some 70 scholars from 16 different countries to our campus. this is the third such international conference sponsored by the institute in the past five years. in short, the efforts of
professor rosenfeld and all those that work with the institute have established a worldwide hub for the study of anti-semitism, and equally as important,, a hub for a global community of individuals dedicated to the enduring power of diversity and inclusion. this evening, i am delighted to continue this tradition by welcoming back to our campus the honorable irwin cotler to deliver our keynote address. irwin cotler is the founder and and meredith professor of law at mcgill university. he has served various roles in the canadian government, including a numbe member of parliament, or journey justice.
professor cotler's career has been defined by an abiding covenant to human rights in all its forms. this commitment has been evident in everything from his efforts to make the canadian supreme court the most gender representative in the world, to his leadership of the canadian delegation to the stockholm conference on the prevention and combating of genocide. furthermore, professor cotler has distinguished himself as an international human rights lawyer, serving as counsel to prisoners of conscience. who include such notable figures , professorandela in egypt.im a former lecturer in
this series, from the former soviet union. he has testified as an expert witness on human rights and for mental assemblies around the world. -- and governmental similes rob world. including the u.s., norway, russia, and israel. professor cotler's advocacy for human rights in all corners of the globe reminds us of the powerful words of dr. martin luther king. injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere. most recently, professor cotler's lifelong commitment to human rights led to the creation of the center for human rights, named after the swedish diplomat that saved thousands of hungarian jews from nazis in world war ii, only to tragically disappear after being captured by soviet forces in 1945. as you might expect from professor cotler's leadership, the center has a distinctly international scope in its advocacy for human rights.
focusing on issues of pressing contemporary importance, such as human rights in iran. in february, his work on behalf of the center wrought him to the geneva summit for human rights and democracy. we are so pleased that his work now brings them back to indiana university bloomington. please join me in welcoming professor irwin cotler. [applause] prof. cotler: think you for that warm and heartwarming introduction. i come to indiana amongst such a community of scholars, i feel very much at home. i have to say that i am particularly moved to the visitingn scholars program.