“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” -Eli Wiesel
Recently a survey was conducted by Claims Conference to gauge Americans knowledge of the Holocaust. (1)
The findings indicated that only 1/3 to 1/2 of the population knew six million Jews died in the Holocaust.
Only a little over 50% could name a single concentration camp and only 34% have ever heard of the Final Solution.
In spite of this substantial lack of knowledge, 80% believed that education about the Holocaust is important.
One cannot help but notice the massive discrepancy of a large majority of Americans, who believe the Holocaust is important to study, but at the same time knowing very little about it.
Although the survey did not ask this question, their results indicate that many Americans are indifferent to the Holocaust.
Many people look at Anti-Semitism and hate as the causes that allowed the Holocaust to be carried out. However, Wiesel’s quote expresses his belief that there was a greater danger than hate. That is the danger of Indifference and ignorance. Wiesel was not the only Holocaust Survivor who recognized and wrote about this danger.
The common poem by Lutheran Pastor and Holocaust Survivor Martin Niemöller agrees with Wiesel’s warning against indifference.
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me- and there was no one left too speak for me.”
As we remember the six million victims of the Holocaust this January 27th, we must realize that we must not only be vigilant against Anti-Semitism, but also apathy.
We can never forget the victims that did not survive man’s darkest hour. Neither can we forget that survivors and witnesses of the horrors of the Holocaust are still with us.
We are thankful that you have not forgotten the Holocaust or those who survived it. Your continued interest in the work of RII and the lives of the survivors we serve, and your generosity in supporting our mission truly demonstrates your compassion and commitment to this important cause.
Together, we will continue to bless the survivors and maintain the memory of those who are no longer with us. Thank you for taking part in this important work!
- “New Survey by Claims Conference Finds Significant Lack of Holocaust Knowledge in the United States”