Holocaust denial and distortion must stop – US Embassy in Georgia

Posted By on January 30, 2022

A Holocaust survivor mourns during a ceremony at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Owicim, Poland, on January 27, 2020. ( Natalia Fedosenko/TASS/Getty Images)

ByLauren Monsen

Leaders around the globe are working together to counter dangerous messages of Holocaust denial and distortion that have spread in this digital age.

TheInternational Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a body that supports Holocaust education, research and remembrance worldwide, explains the terms: Holocaust denialseeks to erase the history of the Holocaust. In doing so, it seeks to legitimize Nazism and antisemitism.Holocaust distortionacknowledges aspects of the Holocaust as factual. It nevertheless excuses, minimizes or misrepresents the Holocaust in a variety of ways and through various media.

Leaders around the world increasingly are speaking out against these forms of antisemitism.

Distortion is often more subtle and insidious than outright denial. It can be found all across the political spectrum, but sincethe COVID-19 pandemicbegan, extremists have increasingly employed Holocaust distortion in ways that can harm democracy for example, wearing yellow stars (similar to those imposed on Jews by the Nazis) to protest vaccine mandates and paint themselves as victims. Such tactics promote distrust of public health experts, while disrespecting the memory of Holocaust victims.

Some distorters rehabilitate the reputations of those involved in the Holocaust by downplaying their roles as Nazi collaborators, says Ellen Germain, the U.S. Department of States special envoy for Holocaust issues. But whatever form Holocaust distortion takes, she says, it demeans the crime of the Holocaust thesystematic annihilationof an entire people.

Holocaust denial is a threat and must be taken seriously, but in North America and in Europe, its less common these days than Holocaust distortion, according to theUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museums Robert Williams, a senior member of the U.S. delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. It can act as a gateway drug to conspiracy theory and more dangerous forms of antisemitism. And its used to recruit, to radicalize and to sow broad cultural and social discord.

During his tenure as Americas top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, himself the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, has shone a light on these problems.

Its no accident that people who seek to create instability and undermine democracy often try to cast doubt on the Holocaust, he says. Thats why its so important that we speak the truth about the past, to protect the facts when others try to distort or trivialize Holocaust crimes.

By U.S. Embassy Tbilisi | 25 January, 2022 | Topics: History, Human Rights, News | Tags: cultural preservation, U.S. history, WWII

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Holocaust denial and distortion must stop - US Embassy in Georgia

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