Tag Archives: holocaust

Many candles in a vigil, symbolizing the millions of lives that were destroyed by the Nazis.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we echoed the sentiments of our colleague Izzy Arbeiter: 

To me the most important date in history is January 27, 1945, the liberation of Auschwitz.  That is the day the slaughterhouses of the Jewish people were shut down, and hopefully forever ceased the killing of the Jewish people.  If it weren’t for that day, it could still be going on, and the families we brought into this world wouldn’t have been made and be able to accomplish what they have accomplished, in this country, and in Israel. 

For most survivors, the war did not end until all of Europe was liberated in May 1945.    

This year, the commemoration occurs at a time of political upheaval in our country, and an unfortunate trend of people analogizing political events and disagreements to the Holocaust, Hitler, or Nazism.  Analogies to Kristallnacht, the Warsaw Ghetto, Auschwitz or other death camps, or any of the unspeakable crimes of the Holocaust, reflect a very serious misunderstanding of the vast scope of Nazi Germany’s crimes, and the crimes of its collaborators. They also denigrate the memory of 6 million Jews, including one and a half million Jewish children, who were murdered in the Holocaust. 

We all have a responsibility to speak out against hate, bigotry, and violence, which have the potential for ever-greater abuses.  At the same time, we must do everything in our power to remember, and to educate every living soul about the unprecedented crimes against the Jewish people for which we commemorate the anniversary of January 27, 1945.

HSF-USA statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 27, 2021.
Photo Courtesy of Herbert Karliner

What Kristallnacht survivor Herbert Karliner says about Kristallnacht comparisons

Today in the Forward, Herbert Karliner tells Stewart Ain “it is shameful for anyone to compare anything to Kristallnacht.”

“On Kristallnacht, my father, Joseph Karliner, had his store set on fire and destroyed. Within hours, the Gestapo arrived and took him to the Buchenwald concentration camp. It was a time of absolute terror for Jewish people. My father returned a few weeks later, and we thought we were lucky to be escaping Germany on the SS St. Louis. Well, as most people should know, we were turned away from this great country, dooming my father, my mother, my two sisters, and hundreds of others to their deaths in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camps.”

“My brother and I were very, very lucky to survive, and I was privileged to emigrate to the United States. I served in the U.S. Army and raised a family here. I believe in the strength and virtue of the American people to overcome the political differences of today, and pray for President Biden and all of our elected leaders to help heal us. But analogies to Kristallnacht or Nazism reflect a very serious misunderstanding of the vast scope of Nazi Germany’s crimes, and the crimes of its collaborators. They also denigrate the memory of 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.”

Read the rest of the interview with Herbert Karliner, who also serves on the HSF-USA executive committee, today in the Forward.