The decline of the memory of the Holocaust

November 28, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The World Jewish Congress is deeply disturbed by the findings of a European-wide CNN poll detailing public sentiment toward Jews.

The railway leading up to the main gate at the Nazis’ former Auschwitz II (Birkenau) concentration camp. Credit: Michel Zacharz via Wikimedia Commons.

The study found that a shocking rise in antisemitism has coincided with a marked decline across the continent in the level of public knowledge about the Holocaust.

Among the most troubling of the results laid out in the report is the fact that one-third of the more than 7,000 respondents believe that Israel uses the Holocaust to justify its actions and to deflect criticism against the Jewish state.

In response, WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer released the following statement:

“It is absolutely insufferable, yet sadly unsurprising, that 75 years after the Holocaust, the age-old antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes continue unfettered around the world. We have long been alarmed by the resurgence of antisemitism, and this recent poll underscores our ongoing concern. There can be no confusion in the fact that accusing Israel of exploiting the brutal murder of six million Jews for its own gains is nothing short of blood libel and the worst forms of xenophobia.

“This poll made it clearer than ever that preserving the memory of the Holocaust through thorough and accurate education is critical to the survival of the Jewish people and all minorities under threat of racism, discrimination and violence. It is precisely for this reason that the WJC partnered with UNESCO to launch a website geared toward educating young adults and those unaware about the horrors of the Holocaust and the danger of what can happen when such atrocities are ignored, forgotten, or distorted.”

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, is deeply concerned about the initial report of the CNN survey, according to which one-third of Europeans claim to know little or nothing about the Holocaust. Additionally, the survey highlights the troubling fact that many entrenched hateful antisemitic tropes persist in European civilization, seventy-five years after the end of the Holocaust. While antisemitism does not necessarily lead to genocide, antisemitism was central to the Nazis’ worldview and the basis for their “Final Solution” to eradicate all Jews and their culture from the face of the earth. The results of this survey prove the necessity to intensify broad-based efforts in the area of Holocaust education and awareness, which is essential to any effort to contend with antisemitism. Yad Vashem remains determined to foster the requisite knowledge and provide means to teach about the Holocaust.

“We have created numerous tools to further our educational efforts, in order to ensure a deeper understanding about the Holocaust and antisemitism,” proclaimed Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “Most recently, Yad Vashem created an online course entitled, “Antisemitism – From its Origins to the Present,” which was introduced less than a year ago on the UK e-education platform FutureLearn.” More than 10,000 people from around the world have so far joined this enlightening and compelling course.

While Holocaust education plays an indispensable role in combating antisemitism, it must also be augmented by effective government legislation and enforcement. Yad Vashem believes that by raising public awareness about the Shoah, not as a closed chapter in human history but as a relevant topic for our own time, the nations of Europe and elsewhere will be better equipped and motivated to fight racism and antisemitism.



3 Responses to “The decline of the memory of the Holocaust”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    I’m waiting to see how long it will take the Holy See et al to accept Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel… took decades to acknowledge you as a state, then property, fiscal benefits and tax concessions became the issue.
    Then it was someone else’s turn….

    I do recall Fr Renczes of the above hoped to make another visit in relation to the Holy Land etc. that would’ve been interesting….

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    I couldn’t agree more….I think the Interfaith Movement to some extent contributes to this moving with the times. From my experience…it isn’t “Kosher” to even bring it up.
    Nostra Aetate for instance…..Originally John XX111 referred only to Jews then after his death, other faiths were added so as not to cause offense, [yet only a decade later and the Argentine dictatorship I mentioned sometime ago to the archbishop delegated by the Holy See as consultor for building Catholic and Jewish relations and he didn’t even know what I was talking about!]

    *Nostra Aetate is part of Vatican II’s updating
    the Catholic Church to bring it into
    relationship with the modern world. Its genesis
    was in the mind and heart of Pope John XXIII,
    who had witnessed first-hand the tribulation
    of the Jewish people during the Second World
    War and had used his then office as Apostolic
    Delegate to Turkey to provide them safe passage.
    After a meeting with the Jewish historian, Jules
    Isaac, who presented him with a document
    showing how Church teaching had contributed
    to the anti-Semitism which had fuelled the
    Shoah/Holocaust, the good Pope John directed
    that changing this situation was to be included in
    the preparations for the Council. Originally it was
    to be a statement on the Jews only, included in the
    document on the Church.
    *Cardinal Augustine Bea steered the text through
    several drafts in the Vatican Council. In the
    volatile atmosphere of that time, shortly after the
    establishment of the State of Israel, the bishops
    of the Middle East cautioned that a statement on
    the Jews only would be seen as taking political
    sides and would have negative consequences for
    the Christian minorities. Accordingly, a section
    was added on Islam and relations with Muslims.
    The bishops of Asia then asserted that their very
    different situation of living as a minority among
    the believers of the other world religions was
    overlooked, so further sections were added. In
    the process, the statement became a separate
    document in its own right. On 28 October 1965,
    in the fourth and final session, the Council Fathers
    approved the final draft with an overwhelming
    majority of 2,221 to 88. This ringing endorsement
    made Nostra Aetate the official Catholic teaching
    on relations with believers from other religions.
    For me anyway….with my nose firmly integrated in history books….

  3. Robert Weil says:

    Sadly, this is a reflection of the leftist disease that engulfs the world. I’ll bet if those surveyed were asked what is the biggest threat facing the world today the answer would be ‘carbon emissions’. Radical Islamism would barely rate a mention.

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