The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago applauds and endorses the Nov. 21 statement of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As a community that is home to some 6,000 Holocaust survivors, we especially share USHMM's deep alarm at the hateful rhetoric that occurred at a conference of white nationalists held over the weekend In Washington, D.C.
"The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech," the statement reads.
The USHMM statement came in reaction to remarks by white nationalist leader Richard B. Spencer, who said, "America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity," Spencer said. "It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us."
We will continue to work with all levels of government, and with Jewish and non-Jewish partners, to call out hate and uphold America's most cherished values.
Michael H. Zaransky, Chairman
Steven B. Nasatir, President
Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Statement by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is
deeply alarmed at the hateful rhetoric
at a conference of white nationalists held on November 19 at the Ronald Reagan Building just blocks from the Museum.
According to press reports, Richard Spencer, the leader of the National Policy Institute - a white nationalist think tank - that sponsored the conference, made several direct and indirect references to Jews and other minorities, often alluding to Nazism. He spoke in German to quote Nazi propaganda and refer to the mainstream media. He implied that the media was protecting Jewish interests and said, "One wonders if these people are people at all?" He said that America belongs to white people. His statement that white people face a choice of "conquer or die" closely echoes Adolf Hitler's view of Jews and that history is a racial struggle for survival.
The targeting of Jews was central to Nazi racist ideology. The Germans attempted to kill every Jewish man, woman and child they could find. Nazi racism extended to other groups. By the end of World War II, the Germans and their collaborators had murdered six million Jews and millions of other innocent civilians, many of whom were targeted for racial reasons.
The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.