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Holocaust Organizations, Scholars and Educators Sound Alarm on Surge in Hate Crimes

I wanted to share this important statement by many individuals and institutions involved in Holocaust education, calling us all to stand up against intolerance and condemn hate speech.

From the press release:

Holocaust Organizations, Scholars and Educators Sound Alarm on Surge in Hate Crimes

(New York, NY) – In a powerful statement issued by an array of Holocaust institutions, scholars and educators from around the world, an alarm is being sounded on the rise of groups that promote intolerance and hate speech. These 90 institutions and 71 individuals call on lawmakers to condemn white nationalist groups and ask citizens to be vigilant.

The statement is as follows:

Recent months have seen a surge in unabashed racism and hate speech – including blatant antisemitism and attacks on Hispanics, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, as well as other targeted groups.  Journalists have been threatened.  Places of worship, schools and playgrounds have been defaced with Nazi symbols intended to intimidate and arouse fear.  White supremacist groups have become self-congratulatory and emboldened.

As Holocaust scholars, educators and institutions, we are alarmed by these trends.  History teaches us that intolerance, unchecked, leads to persecution and violence.  We denounce racism and the politics of fear that fuels it.  We stand in solidarity with all vulnerable groups.  We take Elie Wiesel’s words to heart: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation."

Therefore, we call upon all elected officials as well as all civic and religious leaders to forcefully and explicitly condemn the rise in hate speech and any attacks on our democratic principles.  We call upon all media and social media platforms to refuse to provide a stage for hate groups and thus normalize their agenda.  And we call upon all people of good conscience to be vigilant, to not be afraid, and to speak out.

This statement is co-authored by members of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, a network dedicated to the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research, and is affirmed by the following institutions and individuals:

Isaac Babel - A Jewish Writer in Soviet Russia

Reviews of Finding Babel:

Finding Babel is another example of a well-made, interesting film looking back into a family's history. Like my work, this film contextualizes a period in history, crystallized in one family's story. I am hoping that my project will similarly illuminate the stories of Mischlinge and converts over a broader historical period, from the angle of my own family's emotions and experiences...

In the Examiner: A simple, if straightforward, history lesson on why Isaac Babel was important to Russia could have been a serviceable documentary. But his grandson's journey makes this a personal story. Layering Isaac's own words against the events of his day, notably the rise of Stalin's power, gives "Finding Babel" context and substance.

Adolfo Kaminski - Forger and hero

An article about Adolfo Kaminski, a remarkable teenager who forged passports to save the lives of thousands by helping them get out of countries under Nazi rule. 

Kaminski's daughter's newly translated biography of her father is available here:

Read the full article:

Watch the video:

"Mendelssohn, the Nazis, and me"

This movie by Sheila Hayman, a direct descendant of the Mendelssohn family, digs into Felix's religion and how the family's heritage and conversions affected their descendants during the Nazi years. Read more here:

Felix Mendelssohn was a passionate Christian. He was also born a Jew. This film, marking the 200th anniversary of his birth, tells the extraordinary story of what happened, generations later, both to Mendelssohn's family and to his music, when the Nazis remembered the Jewish roots of Germany's most celebrated composer.
Growing up in a London suburb, I never thought much about my relationship with Felix Mendelssohn. I always felt a bit weird but I put that down to having a father with a strong German accent and eccentric table manners.
— Sheila Hayman