YOM HASHOAH

As Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches, two renowned rabbis ask, “what is the message of yesterday for today?”

Aired on April 24, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> AS ANTI-SEMITISM AND WHITE NATIONALISM CONTINUE TO GROW BOTH ONLINE AND AROUND THE WORLD, SO HAS THE DENIAL AND REVISIONIST HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST.

ACCORDING TO THE NAZIS' RECORDS, 6 MILLION JEWS, ONE-THIRD OF ALL EUROPEAN JEWRY, WERE SYSTEMATICALLY MURDERED OVER SIX YEARS IN THE LIKES HUMANITY HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE OR SINCE.

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY BEGINS AT SUNDOWN ON MAY 1st.

THE HOLIDAY HONORS THE VICTIMS OF THE ATROCITY.

THIS YEAR THE CONGREGATION ON LONG ISLAND WILL HOST A SPECIAL PROGRAM WELCOMING NEWS AND J NONJEWS ALIKE TO DISCUSS THIS QUESTION.

WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF YESTERDAY FOR TODAY?

HERE TO HELP ANSWER THAT QUESTION, RABBI JOSEPH, THE EVENTS GUEST SPEAKER AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK BOARD OF RABBIS.

ALSO, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY.

WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

FIRST, LET ME TOSS OUT SOME VERY TROUBLING STATISTICS FOR YOU.

REASON STUDY REVEALED THAT ONE-THIRD OF ALL AMERICANS BELIEVE THE SCOPE OF THE MURDER OF JEWS IN THE HOLOCAUST WAS EXAGGERATED.

ONE-THIRD OF THE PEOPLE.

THIS FAIRLY EXTENSIVE STUDY, IT SHOWS THAT ADDITIONALLY, 66% OF MILLENNIALS COULD NOT STATE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AUSCHWITZ.

70% THAT PEOPLE ARE LESS CONCERNED ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST TODAY THAN IN THE PAST.

WHILE 58% BELIEVE THE HOLOCAUST OR SOMETHING LIKE IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN.

WHEN YOU HEAR THOSE NUMBERS, WHAT IS YOUR IMMEDIATE REACTION?

I THINK IT IS FRIGHTENING.

THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SO MANY DIFFERENT PLACES TO FIND THE NEWS, THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SO MANY DIFFERENT WEBSITES.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE LOOKING AT?

WHAT ARE THEY READING THAT THEY ARE GETTING THAT KIND OF MISINFORMATION?

SO I'M WORRIED ABOUT HOW WE TRANSMIT, HOW WE CONVEY.

AND MAKING SURE THAT WE GET THE STORY OUT.

THE REAL STORY OUT.

NOT SOME KIND OF FACTUAL REVISION I OR UP IN A FACTUAL REV REVISIONISM.

JUST GOING BACK TO THOSE NUMBERS, WORKING WITH ELMS, ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT 66% CAN'T EVEN EXPRESS THE ROLE OF AUSCHWITZ AND THE SIGNIFICANCE?

WELL, I HAVE TO DEGREE.

I THINK THE FACT THOSE NUMBERS ARE TRUE, IT'S SCARY WHEN WE THINK ABOUT WHAT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE ARE THINKING ABOUT AND THE DIFFERENT NARRATIVES THAT THEY'RE CONSTANTLY BEING BOMBARDED WITH ONLINE AND IN BOOKS THEY READ, MAGAZINE ARTICLES.

THE FACT THAT THERE IS A PLACE FOR OTHER OPINIONS THAT ARE JUST BEING PUT OUT WITHOUT ANY COUNTER BALANCE, I THINK, IS REALLY VERY SCARY.

I THINK FOR THEM, IT IS VERY HARD TO FATHOM A NUMBER LIKE 6 MILLION.

YOU GO TO GIANTS STADIUM, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 80,000 PEOPLE.

A COULD GO CAMPUS.

THERE MIGHT BE 7,000 UNDERGRADS.

TO HEAR A NUMBER LIKE THAT, IT IS JUST CHALLENGING FOR THEM TO GET THEIR MINDS AROUND.

THE TALK THAT YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE, WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE GOING TO BE IN TERMS OF WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM YESTERDAY?

WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN.

MAYBE THAT'S A BETTER WAY.

WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN FROM YESTERDAY.

FIRST, I THINK IT WAS SAID YEARS AGO THAT THE TRAGEDY OF THE HOLOCAUST WAS THAT THE NAZIS THOUGHT THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH IT AND THEY DID GET AWAY WITH IT.

FOR SO MANY MILLIONS TO HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED.

THE SECOND LESSON OBVIOUSLY IS THAT WE SHOULD HAVE SHOUTED.

INSTEAD WE WERE SITE.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT REPORTS WHAT WAS BEING TRANSMITTED IN VARIOUS PUBLICATIONS, THE HOLOCAUST WAS ONE OF MANY STORIES.

IT WAS NOT THE PRIMARY STORY.

SO JUST IMAGINE THAT PEOPLE ARE BEING MURDERED AND YET BARBECUES ARE TAKING PLACES.

IT WAS ANOTHER DAY IN THE NEWS.

SO I THINK WE HAVE TO PRIORITIZE AND PUBLICIZE THINGS WHICH RAE DEMAND OUR ATTENTION.

SO ALL OF US HAVE TO SHOUT RATHER THAN BE SILENT.

YOU MENTIONED ABOUT THE PEOPLE, WHEN YOU GO ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES, THERE ARE HOLOCAUST COURSES BEING TAUGHT EVERYWHERE.

I DON'T THINK YOU CAN GO TO ANY CAMPUS --

MORE SO THAN EVER.

YES.

SO THIS DICHOTOMY OF THE INFORMATION BEING CAUGHT AND MISINFORMATION BEING LEARNED IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS AS BEST WE CAN.

AND BY THE WAY, WE CAN'T WAIT UNTIL LATER ON.

BECAUSE KIDS, THEIR MINDS ARE FORMATIVE.

I'M A CHILD OF SURVIVORS.

MY PARENTS LOST FIVE CHILDREN DURING THAT HORRIFIC PERIOD.

I'VE ALWAYS MADE A POINT OF TELLING THEIR STORY.

EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT TOO MUCH.

I'VE TOLD THEIR STORY.

THIS GENERATION OF SURVIVORS IS DIMINISHING.

WE'VE DONE SOME CONVERSATIONS WITH FOLKS HERE WHO ARE SURVIVORS AND TALKING ABOUT HOW WE PRESERVE THE STORIES.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THEY'RE TOLD?

THAT GETS ME TO YOU.

TELL ME THE HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY.

YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON THE YOUNG PEOPLE.

SO ALTHOUGH THIS IS NEVER TOO FAR FROM WHAT WE'RE DOING ALL THE TIME, WHICH IS A REAL KEY.

SPECIFICALLY FOR HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, WE HAVE SEVERAL ACTIVITIES.

ONE, WE BRING IN A SPEAKER.

WE HAVE A SURVIVOR COME TO SPEAK.

WE HOST SOMETHING CALLED SIX HOURS FOR THE SIX MILLION.

FOR SIX HOURS, STUDENTS COME TAKE FIVE OR TEN-MINUTE BLOCKS.

THEY COME IN AND READ NAMES OF THOSE LOST IN THE HOLOCAUST.

THE BOOK OF NAMES WE HAVE ARE ACTUALLY CHILDREN THAT HAVE PERISHED.

TO SEE PEOPLE, AND THIS IS ADMINISTRATORS, STUDENTS, MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY, COME.

WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO BRING THEIR OWN NAMES IF THEY HAVE THEM IN THEIR FAMILY.

YOU CAN SEE THE IMPACT HAPPEN IMMEDIATELY.

AND ALSO, TO READ THE NAMES.

THEY READ THE NAMES AND THE AGES.

FOR ME PERSONALLY, YOU'LL SIT THERE AND YOU'LL HEAR A NAME, A FAMILY NAME AND AN AGE, AND THEN THE SAME FAMILY NAME FIVE TIMES, SIX TIMES.

YOU CAN SEE ON THEIR FACE, THE IMPACT THAT IT IS MAKING.

I HEAR FOLKS, CHILDREN OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, AND I HEARD THEM SAY THEIR GENERATION REMEMBERS.

SO WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO SO THAT THIS NEXT GENERATION AND SUBSEQUENT GENERATIONS, NOT JUST KNOW, BUT TRULY UNDERSTAND?

HOW DO WE DO IT?

RWANDA, SOMALIA, YOU LOOK AROUND THE WORLD AT PLACES THAT HAVE SUFFERED SO MUCH GENOCIDE.

I THINK THEY HAVE TO KNOW THAT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HOLOCAUST CAN HAVE A DIFFERENT MANIFESTATION FOR ANOTHER PEOPLE.

AND IT CAN HAPPEN TO JEWS.

I THINK WE HAVE TO ALSO TELL OUR KIDS THAT THERE IS A POSITIVE SIDE TO RELIGION.

THERE'S A POSITIVE SIDE.

IF ALL WE TALK ABOUT IS THE HOLOCAUST.

AS IMPORTANT AS IT IS, AFTER A WHILE KIDS SAY IT IS ALL VICTIM HOOD.

THERE HAS TO BE MORE THAN THAT.

WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, THAT WAS THE MAIN IDEA.

THAT THE HOLOCAUST BECAME SUCH A CENTRAL PART OF THE NARRATIVE.

TRUTHFULLY, WHEN STUFF HAPPENED, WE WERE UNPREPARED IN MANY WAYS.

I THINK THAT THE KEY REALLY IS THE TWO THINGS.

ONE IS THE HONOR AND THE EDUCATION.

WHEN WE'RE REMEMBERING THESE PEOPLE, THEY'RE REAL PEOPLE WITH REAL STORIES.

AND THESE THINGS COMING UP, THEY CONNECTED VERY WELL TO WHO WE ARE TODAY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

A REMINDER FOR YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CONGREGATION'S HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE EVENT, YOU CAN VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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