Meredith Scott, one of our students attended the Yom Hashoah ceremony at The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum. The following blog is from her experience. Meredith, Cohort V, is an intern at the Ghetto Fighters’ House, she’s working with art made in the Theresienstadt ghetto.
The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, spoke of a new type of Holocaust Denial which allows perpetrating governments to bring victimhood on themselves rather than accept their part in implementing the Holocaust. When these nations push the responsibility back on Germany, and Germany alone, they themselves resist the Holocaust, effectually denying the Holocaust.
Rivlin said, “We must wage a war against the current and dangerous wave of Holocaust denial. We must resist the renunciation of national responsibility in the name of alleged victimhood.” Furthermore Rivlin spoke of what he foresees as the alarming outcomes of this denial, “…the denial of the Holocaust, which is growing before our very eyes, strives towards a more sophisticated goal, and is much more dangerous. This is not a denial of the very existence of the Holocaust, but a denial of the distinction between a victim and a criminal.” Rivlin made the plea for “…moral internal reflection from all those who assisted carrying out of the systematic annihilation.”
The former President of Germany (as of last month), Joachim Gauck, also spoke at the ceremony. This is the first time a German official has spoken at a Yom Hashoah ceremony. Gauk spoke of the silence after the Holocaust and how that silence has broken in the last 50 years. He said, “It was a painful process but it created a new Germany.” Still in this new Germany, a guilt remains. Gauck said that Auschwitz stained him, and it will stain his children and their children, so all future generations of Germany will not forget. Gauk recalled, “I was unable to like my country. I hated it even.” Holocaust remembrance is central in Germany today, and it has an important place there, which, in a way, forges a bond between Israel and Germany.
The Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum and the Weiss Livnat International MA in Holocaust Studies have a long standing relationship. Over the years our students have had the priveledge to have internships with the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum. Our students also have access to their excellent library and archives, and they host an annual seminar for our students.