Today, Jill and I join the American people in remembering the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust and the millions of Poles, Roma, LGBT people, and so many others whose lives were extinguished by the Nazi regime. We honor the memories of those who died in the Holocaust. And we pay tribute to the resilience of those who survived. Despite carrying with them for the rest of their lives the harrowing knowledge of man’s worst inhumanity to man, in ways large and small, Holocaust survivors have made this world a better place. We have a special obligation to care for them, to preserve their stories, and to make sure a generation never arises in our midst that does not know what happened at Auschwitz.
We mark this milestone at a moment when too many hearts in too many places are still full of the hatred that seeks to eliminate innocent life on the basis of religion, ethnicity, or identity. Recent violent attacks against Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe make unmistakably clear that the scourge of anti-Semitism persists and must be confronted. Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor who served with honor in the United States Congress, used to say, “The veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians. We can never rest.” We have to reclaim the words “never again.” It must be more than a lament. It must remain our commitment.