April 23, 2009
WASHINGTON — At a ceremony Thursday remembering millions of Jews [allegedly] slaughtered in World War II, President Barack Obama reaffirmed the strong US bond with Israel and vowed to confront Holocaust deniers.
“There are those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who perpetrate every form of intolerance — racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism and more,” Obama told a gathering in the Capitol Rotunda organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“We have an opportunity and an obligation to confront these scourges,” Obama said.
[Thanks to DBS at The French Connection for this one]
“We have the opportunity … to commit ourselves to resisting injustice, intolerance and indifference in whatever forms they may take, whether confronting those who tell lies about history or doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities like those that took place in Rwanda, those taking place in Darfur,” he said.
The US president’s speech came just days after a UN conference on racism where Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced Israel as “the most cruel and repressive racist regime.”
Obama reaffirmed the “strong and enduring” bonds between the United States and Israel.
“The nation of Israel rising from the destruction of the Holocaust” was a source of hope to all those who commit to fighting intolerance, he said.
Among those at the gathering, which was part of the US Holocaust Museum’s Days of Remembrance, were five Poles who between them [allegedly] saved the lives of scores of Jews and have been awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations by the Holocaust remembrance organization, Yad Vashem.
“The Righteous remind us that no one is born a savior or a murderer. These are choices we each have the power to make,” Obama said of the Poles as well as the villagers of Le Chambon in France, which [allegedly] refused to turn away or turn in Jews during the war, and saved 5,000 lives.
Jozef Wolszczak, now 90, and the doyen of the group of Righteous, [allegedly] saved the lives of 53 Jews in occupied Poland during the war, [allegedly] buying 20 of them for a kilo of gold from the Germans after an [alleged] raid, [allegedly] giving 30 jobs in his small factory and harboring three more in his home.
Tadeusz Stankiewicz’s family [allegedly] built bunkers in the woods southeast of Warsaw, in which 60 Jews hid.
“We did it because it was the only thing to do. How can you watch so many people suffering and not lift a finger to help them?” Stankiewicz told AFP.
Ireneusz Rajchowski’s family [allegedly] sheltered dozens of Jews in their home, including a man they [allegedly] helped smuggle out of the Warsaw ghetto.
The rescued Jewish man and his family survived the war. His daughter, Barbara Gora, was in the Capitol Thursday, along with two more Righteous Poles, Alicja Schnepf and Anna Stupnicka-Bando, and Krystyna Budnicka, [allegedly] the only member of her Orthodox Jewish family to survive the war.
“The Righteous teach us… that if we have the courage to heed that ‘still, small voice’ within us, we can form a minyan for righteousness that can span a village and even a nation,” said Obama.
A minyan is the quorum required for Jewish communal worship. More than 6,000 Poles have been awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations, the largest number of any country.
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who [allegedly] survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, used his time at the podium in the Rotunda to take on Ahmadinejad.
The Iranian leader was “the number one Holocaust denier in the world,” said Wiesel, whose mother and sister [allegedly] died at Auschwitz, his father [allegedly] at Buchenwald.
“He used the solemn setting of a United Nations gathering again to insult the state of Israel in a way that no civilized person should ever do,” he said, thanking the United States for boycotting the UN meeting in Geneva.
The above article can be found at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090423/pl_afp/usiranwwiiholocaustjewshistorylead_20090423214851