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A young woman views the ceiling in Yad Vashem which features the photos of Jews killed in the Holocaust. Photo: Metro Voice

World marks Holocaust Remembrance day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed on Saturday against the backdrop of rising antisemitism in the United States and around the world.

“As we are witnessing an alarming rise of antisemitism around the globe, it is more important than ever for us to recognize the critical lessons of Holocaust history as we commemorate the victims and honor the survivors,” the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said in a statement.

Mark Weitzman, COO of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, said the attacks of October 7 a major event in Jewish history. The terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel that day, killing some 1,200 and taking more than 200 hostages.

“Since the Holocaust 80 years ago, we haven’t faced anything like this, like we’re facing today,” he said. “Jews are in an unprecedented situation in this country in terms of antisemitism I think there are clear connections between people who are downplaying or distorting the events of October 7 and those that engage in Holocaust distortion or hardcore Holocaust denial.”

READ: Majority of Arab world supports Hamas actions

U.S. college campuses have been a hotbed of antisemitism. Elizabeth Zhorov, vice president of Northeastern Hillel and a student at Northeastern University in Boston, said International Holocaust Remembrance Day “has more meaning than ever.”

“It’s important to realize that there’s no room for this kind of hate for anyone ever again,” she said. “It’s important to educate ourselves and remember parts of history like that so we don’t repeat the past. It’s important now more than ever, especially with the rise in hate crimes all over the world, and how people are genuinely being affected by it now.”

Columnist Robert Scott Kellner, writing in a “Jerusalem Post” opinion piece, said that the same hatred that drove the Nazis still exists today.

“As we commemorate the victims of the Nazis, we must be honest about the role of those in the Islamic world who openly threaten Israel and Jews with a second Holocaust,” he wrote. “The frightening difference this time is that concentration camps won’t have to be built and railroad cars won’t be needed, because today’s enemies of the Jewish people plan to drop a nuclear bomb on Israel, where the next six million Jewish victims are already in place.”

Metro Voice publisher Anita Widaman says it is a tall task to educate the public about the issue.

“One reason antisemitism is growing is the lack of history lessons in schools, including the college level,” she says. “We nee to educate young people that antisemitism doesn’t just affect Jews but also has implications for society itself. Hate breeds hate.”

Widaman founded an education non-profit in 2018 that partners with Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. She regularly speaks to groups and is preparing to take a museum-quality Holocaust exhibit onto college campuses.

For information, visit VisionIsrael.org.

–Alan Goforth | MV

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