NEW YORK – Ten years ago, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Today, seventy years after Auschwitz, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs honors the memory of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis and renews its commitment to confronting intolerance and resurgent anti-Semitism. JCPA Chair Susan W. Turnbull and President Rabbi Steve Gutow released the following statement:
“This week, having participated in a critical interfaith mission to Israel and the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau’s liberation at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, we have been intimately reminded, through personal experience, of the terrible impact of hate.
“On this solemn day, we remember all the victims of Hitler’s murderous rampage through Europe, including the slaughter of six million Jews. We also acknowledge that while the Holocaust is a historical event, anti-Semitism remains a current threat. It is why, last week, for the first time in its history, the UN General Assembly convened a meeting to discuss the resurgence of global anti-Semitism. At a time when the Holocaust is still within living memory for the last generation of survivors, many European Jews feel that they are once again becoming targets for hatred and extremism.
“As the recent murders in Paris at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery store remind us, people of conscience must unite against all acts of hatred and violence. Attacks on Jews are also attacks on our society and its most basic values. Unfortunately, as we saw over the last year, anti-Semitic acts occurred not only in Paris but also in Sweden, Belgium, Argentina, Israel and even here in the United States. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is vital that we reaffirm our commitment to stand against hatred and violent extremism. By recognizing and learning from the horrors of the past, we can then move forward toward a more just and inclusive society.”