July 20, 2018
AN OPEN LETTER FROM HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS ON HOLOCAUST DENIAL
For many years and with increasing concern, we survivors of the Holocaust have closely followed the growing phenomenon of Holocaust denial and distortion in the US, Europe and the Middle East. To witness people question the veracity of the horrific tragedy that destroyed our families and obliterated our communities is deeply painful. And beyond the personal offense, Holocaust denial is something more. It is dangerous. To all of us.
As noted historian Deborah Lipstadt, the leading scholar on Holocaust denial, wrote: “Deniers, who today clearly feel more emboldened than ever before, are not the equivalents of flat earth theorists, nor are they just plain loonies….They are white supremacists and anti-Semites. Their agenda is to reinforce and spread the very hatred that produced the Holocaust.”
We are very grateful that there are many institutions, such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum where we serve as volunteers, that teach the public the truth about the Holocaust. And, we are very grateful that this nation values and protects free speech, which was not true in the lands of our birth.
But the rise of the internet and the prevalence of social media are challenging our society with new questions about how our democracy can responsibly manage free speech. We call on leaders in government, technology, media, education and civil society to take on this issue as an urgent matter for our nation’s future.
We know from experience that hate begins with words. But left unchecked, that is not where it ends.
Francine A. Drimer
Arye R. Ephrath
Julie A. Keefer
Estelle Glazer Laughlin
Halina Yasharoff Peabody
Esther R. Starobin
Content from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Originally published at https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-releases/letter-from-holocaust-survivors-on-holocaust-denial