Obama Vows To Fight Holocaust Denial

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The Jewish Daily Forward   January 27, 2012
By JTA

President Barack Obama pledged to combat Holocaust denial in a message  marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In his message, Obama said the United States would “pledge to speak truth to  those who deny the Holocaust.”

“As we celebrate the strength and resilience of survivors, we pledge to stand  strong against all those who would commit atrocities, against the resurgence of  anti-Semitism, and against hatred in all its forms,” he said.

Friday marks the seventh International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was  established by the United Nations General Assembly to annually honor the six  million Jewish men, women and children that were murdered by the Nazis in the  Holocaust.

Jan. 27 holds historical significance because it was the day in 1945 when the  Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum commemorated the day with remarks  from a Holocaust survivor and one of its volunteers, Agi Geva, and the lighting  of memorial candles in its Hall of Remembrance.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the U.S. House of  Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee,released a statement where she said  that the U.S. “must remain vigilant, and we must implement robust Holocaust  education programs to promote the values of tolerance, understanding and respect  as an antidote against senseless hatred and aggression.”

The day was marked around the world.

In Buenos Aires, the Argentinean government joined  the Jewish umbrella  organization DAIA in marking the day. Warsaw ghetto survivor Irene Dib, DAIA  President Aldo Donzis and Hector Timerman, the country’s Jewish foreign  minister, delivered remarks.

Argentina is currently the president of the Task Force for International  Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research. The task force,  established a decade ago at the initiative of the Swedish government, aims to  promote the remembrance of the Holocaust through education, research and  memorial sites. It is comprised of 27 member countries, mostly European. Six  international organizations belong as observers, including the United Nations  and the European Union.

In Brussels, Haaretz reported, European Parliament President Martin Schulz  said he had a “specific responsibility” as a German to maintain Holocaust  remembrance and said commemoration would now be marked annually by the  parliament.

In Norway, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, speaking from the dock in Oslo  where 532 Jews were deported in 1942, apologized for the role Norweigans played  in facilitating the deportations. “Today I feel it is fitting for me to express  our deepest apologies that this could happen on Norwegian soil,” Stoltenberg  said, according to a translation published on the prime minister’s website.

Commemorations in Britain, France and Italy, among others, included the  leaders of those nations.

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