February 27, 2020

Trump, Johnson Pledge to Fight Anti-Semitism in Holocaust Remembrance Day Statements

HERTFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson onstage during the annual NATO heads of government summit on December 4, 2019 in Watford, England. France and the UK signed the Treaty of Dunkirk in 1947 in the aftermath of WW2 cementing a mutual alliance in the event of an attack by Germany or the Soviet Union. The Benelux countries joined the Treaty and in April 1949 expanded further to include North America and Canada followed by Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. This new military alliance became the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The organisation grew with Greece and Turkey becoming members and a re-armed West Germany was permitted in 1955. This encouraged the creation of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact delineating the two sides of the Cold War. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Photo by Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson each issued statements on Jan. 27 commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day with vows to combat rising anti-Semitism worldwide.

In his message on the White House website, Trump paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

“As we solemnly mourn those who were abused, tortured, or killed at Auschwitz and other concentration and extermination camps, we acknowledge the heroes who risked their own lives — many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice — to help liberate the camps,” Trump said. “Their sacrifices helped the forces of freedom prevail to ensure that these atrocious crimes will never be repeated.”

Trump then touted the executive order he signed in December to address anti-Semitism on college campuses.

“Anti-Semitism will never be tolerated, and this action bolsters my Administration’s efforts to create a culture of respect that deeply values the dignity in every human life,” the president said.

He concluded his statement with a call for prayer for Holocaust survivors and the families of those who perished during the Shoah.

“We ask that the world reflect on this day and seek to ensure that we stand united against intolerance and oppression of people of every race, religion, or ethnicity,” Trump said. “And, in order to ensure that these horrific crimes against God and humanity never happen again, we must resolve to combat evil and oppressive regimes with democracy, justice, and the compassionate spirit that is found in the hearts of all Americans.”

Johnson similarly wrote in an op-ed for the Jewish News that he admired Holocaust survivors for informing the world about their experiences in public forums even in their old age. He added that is important for the world to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

“Even though the Shoah was a crime so unprecedented it required the creation of a new word — genocide — simply to describe it, its perpetrators wished for it to be left unnoticed by the history books,” Johnson wrote. “As the Red Army’s 322nd rifle division closed in on Auschwitz, retreating Nazis destroyed the gas chambers and crematoria in a desperate attempt to cover up their crimes. Despite their enthusiastic participation in the slaughter, they didn’t want the world to know what they had done.”

He warned that anti-Semites today are attempting to whitewash the Holocaust, and that it is imperative that they do not succeed.

“Speak to anyone who survived the Holocaust and they will tell you that it did not begin with the gas chambers or the pogroms,” Johnson wrote. “It began when anti-Semitic slogans were daubed on a Jewish shop window. When a Jewish child was abused on a bus. And when ordinary, law-abiding people chose to turn away and do nothing.”

Johnson concluded his op-ed with a pledge to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in order to prevent such horrors from occurring in the future.

“The government I lead will stand with you and fight alongside you so that the darkest of nights is never again allowed to fall upon the Jews of the world,” he wrote. “We owe those incredible survivors nothing less.”