Tomorrow, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we join nations around the world and pause to mourn one of the darkest chapters in human history, when six million Jews were systematically targeted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust during the 1930s and 1940s. We also grieve the Roma, Sinti, Slavs, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, racial minorities, and political dissidents who were abused or killed. And we honor the courage of survivors and the heroism of people who bravely stood up to the Nazis, risking everything to save innocent lives.
This year, the charge to remember the Holocaust, the evil of the Nazis, and the scourge of antisemitism is more pressing than ever. On October 7 Hamas terrorists unleashed pure, unadulterated evil on the people of Israel, slaughtering approximately 1,200 innocent people and taking hundreds more hostage – including survivors of the Shoah. It was the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust.
In the aftermath of Hamas’s vicious massacre, we have witnessed an alarming rise of despicable antisemitism at home and abroad that has surfaced painful scars from millennia of hate and genocide of Jewish people. It is unacceptable. We cannot remember all that Jewish survivors of the Holocaust experienced and then stand silently by when Jews are attacked and targeted again today. Without equivocation or exception, we must also forcefully push back against attempts to ignore, deny, distort, and revise history. This includes Holocaust denialism and efforts to minimize the horrors that Hamas perpetrated on October 7, especially its appalling and unforgiveable use of rape and sexual violence to terrorize victims.
Under my presidency, and our first-ever National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism, we are continuing to condemn and fight antisemitism at every turn. Because sadly, these events remind us that hate never goes away. It only hides until it is given a little oxygen. And we must each do our part to ensure that hate in all its forms has no safe harbor anywhere in the world. It is our shared moral responsibility to stand up to antisemitism and hate-fueled violence at home and abroad and to make real the promise of “Never Again.”
It was a promise my father first instilled in me at our family dinner table, educating my siblings and me about the horrors of the Shoah. It is a lesson I have passed down to my children and grandchildren by taking them to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, so they could understand for themselves the depth of this antisemitic evil and the complicity of silence or indifference. And it is a message that I have strived to honor during my visits to Israel and by inviting Holocaust survivors and Jewish hostage families to the White House – so the entire nation bears witness.
On this somber International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we hold the Jewish community and the people of Israel close in our hearts. We recommit to carrying forward the lessons of the Shoah, to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate-fueled violence, and to bringing the hostages home. And we remember the enduring strength, spirit, and resilience of the Jewish people – even in the darkest of times.