´No One Cared That Jews Were Being Murdered,´ Sharon Says (CNS-CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Julie Stahl JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 01/27/05)
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Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Nothing was done to stop the murders of
Jews during World War II because "no one cared that Jews were being
murdered," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Thursday, in
an unusually harsh speech marking Israel´s struggle against anti-
Sixty years later, some 40 heads of state, hundreds of Holocaust
survivors and a handful of their liberators are commemorating the
Holocaust in freezing temperatures at the site of the Auschwitz-
Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
Thursday marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the death
The commemoration, organized by the Polish national council on
memorials, is the largest ever. It may also be one of the last to
bring both survivors and their liberators together, since most of
them are at least 80 years old by now. An estimate 7,000 survivors of
the camp are still alive today.
With the reported rise of anti-Semitism worldwide, there is a sense
of urgency to impress on younger generations the horrors of the
Holocaust to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.
Some 1.1 million people were systematically murdered at Auschwitz,
about a million of them Jewish, before the camp was liberated by the
Soviet Red Army on January 27, 1945.
Six million European Jews were murdered in German dictator Adolf
Hitler´s quest to find a "final solution to the Jewish question" --
the worldwide extermination of Jews.
Millions of others -- gypsies, intellectuals, Soviet POWs,
homosexuals -- were also killed at the concentration camps. Tens of
millions of people died as a result of World War II.
On Thursday, more than 10,000 guests and 1,600 journalists were in
Krakow, about 40 miles from Auschwitz, the most notorious of the
Nazi´s extermination camps, to commemorate the anniversary.
Israeli President Moshe Katsav (the first speaker at the event), Vice
President Dick Cheney, the presidents of Poland, Russia, France,
Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, the prime ministers of Italy and
Greece, the British foreign minister and the queen of Holland are
among those attending.
´No one cared´
Israel, which observes its own Holocaust Memorial Day in the spring,
is commemorating Israel´s struggle against anti-Semitism on this 60th
anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, just as it did last year.
Prime Minister Sharon said the allies knew about the annihilation of
the Jews during World War II. "They knew and did nothing," he said.
"On April 19, 1943, the Bermuda Conference gathered, with the
participation of representatives from Britain and the United States,
to discuss saving the Jews of Europe," Sharon told lawmakers at a
special Knesset session on Wednesday.
"In fact, the participants did everything in their power to avoid
dealing with the problem. All the suggestions for rescue operations,
which the Jewish organizations presented, were rejected. They simply
did not want to deal with it," he charged.
Sharon mentioned the Saint Louis, which set sail from Germany in 1939
with 1,000 Jews on board, who successfully escaped but were refused
entry into Cuba and ports in the eastern U.S. and were forced to
return to Europe, where most perished.
He also spoke about the British Mandate, which ruled the Holy Land at
the time, and refused to allow Jewish refugees into Israel.
"Throughout the war, nothing was done to stop the annihilation [of
the Jewish people]. When, in the summer of 1944, the mass
deportations in Hungary were carried out, the allies did not bomb the
train tracks, which led to Auschwitz from Hungary, nor the murder
facilities in Birkenau, and this was despite the fact that they had
the ability to do so," Sharon said.
The lesson learned, Sharon said, is that the Jewish people must never
put their trust in man. But even when the Jews defend themselves, it
angers anti-Semites, who present Israel as the aggressor and accuse
it of taking Nazi-like steps.
Manifestations of anti-Semitism over the last few years are aimed not
only at Jewish individuals but also at the the Jewish people as a
whole and the State of Israel, he said.
"These days, the generation that was witness to the horrors is
disappearing, and ignorance is increasing. Fewer people around the
world have heard of the Holocaust or are aware of what happened in
Auschwitz, and the manifestations of anti-Semitism are on the rise...
"Israel stands with governments as well as Jewish and international
organizations around the world that remember Auschwitz and are
determined to fight this evil uncompromisingly and relentlessly," he
For the first time, Israel´s Education Ministry has made an organized
effort to encourage teachers to instruct high school students here
about anti-Semitism, said David Weinberg, coordinator of cabinet
minister Natan Sharansky´s Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
As part of Sharansky´s initiative, teaching packets were distributed
to high schools throughout the country, containing suggested lesson
plans for teachers and visual aids such as posters displaying various
kinds of anti-Semitism.
"For many years, Israel´s attitude toward anti-Semitism was, ´It´s
not our problem. It´s the problem of Jews in the Diaspora
[dispersion],´" said Weinberg. "And the solution Israelis suggested
to Jews who were living abroad and troubled by anti-Semitism
was "move to Israel," he added.
"Clearly Israel´s thinking has changed," Weinberg said. "Israel feels
a greater responsibility for Jews in the Diaspora [and] Israel is a
Anti-Semitism worldwide has burgeoned since the Palestinians
accelerated their terror war against Israel in September 2000.
According to Weinberg, the idea is not to scare the students or make
them feel that "the whole world is against us," but simply to give
them a perspective and a sense of "historical consciousness".
Earlier this week, the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism released an
annual report showing a gradual increase in violent anti-Semitic
events during 2004.
According to the report, the greatest number of events and the most
serious attacks happened in Europe with a sharp increase in attacks
against Jews and Jewish properties in Great Britain, Russia and the
The highest instance of anti-Semitic attacks was in France, but the
level remained the same as last year, the report said.
Most of the attacks against Jews and Jewish facilities were
perpetrated by Islamic elements, although there was also an increase
in extreme right-wing activity.
"Incitement against Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda is
increasingly acceptable in intellectual and other circles," the
"Extreme anti-Israeli expression in the media continues to grow,
feeding both right- and left-wing anti-Semites," it said.
Nevertheless, Sharansky called this year a "turning point" for
countries in "understanding the dangers [of anti-Semitism] for their
In 2004, governments and regional organizations adopted a number of
intensive measures to combat anti-Semitism.
There was a recognition that extreme forms of anti-Israel propaganda
contribute directly to the main forms of anti-Semitism, Sharansky
said. (copyright 1998-2005 Cybercast News Service. 01/27/05)
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