Holocaust forum focuses on social media role in antisemitism
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A one-day conference starting Wednesday will focus on the receding memory of the Holocaust as Sweden marks the 20th anniversary of a conference on remembering the genocide, with participants focusing on how social media is contributing to a rise in antisemitism. “There is a dangerous rise of antisemitism all over the world mainly because of the new social media,” said Nachman Shai, Israel’s diaspora affairs minister, upon arrival at the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance in Malmo, southern Sweden.
A Jewish community member in Southlake, Texas, shared an emotional account of the antisemitic bullying he endured while in high school and cautioned the Carroll Independent School District about its choice of words about the Holocaust during a heated school board meeting Monday.
Jake Berman was among more than 50 community residents and former students who criticized the school district after its top administrator, Gina Peddy, last week advised teachers in a meeting to provide students with books that covered "opposing" perspectives of the Holocaust. Peddy was citing a Texas law that requires teachers to provide students with multiple perspectives when discussing controversial topics.
Outrage as Texas school District Considers Holocaust Denial Books in Response Anti-Racism Crackdown
"Holocaust denial has no place in our society," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted. "None."Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law earlier this year that is intended to combat the teaching of critical race theory. A recording obtained by NBC News captures a Carroll Independent School District administrator last week instructing teachers to comply with the new law by offering alternate opinions on topics like the Holocaust—despite mainstream views on the Holocaust not being opposed in any substantial or credible manner.
At the school board meeting, teachers were seen getting emotional as the community members shared their discontent with the school and community's marred national reputation, according to NBC News.
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Texas: School leader tells teachers to balance Holocaust books with 'opposing' views
Berman told board members that the high school bullying he experienced in the 1990s nearly pushed him to the brink of suicide. He said Peddy's comment exposed the Texas law that complicates the waters for teachers to talk accurately about racism and controversial subjects.
“I received everything from jokes about my nose to gas chambers, all while studying for my bar mitzvah,” Berman said. “The facts are that there are not two sides of the Holocaust. The Nazis systematically killed millions of people. There are not two sides of slavery. White Europeans enslaved Black Africans in this country until June 19, 1865, a moment we’re barely 150 years removed from.”
Texas book controversy: School administrator told teachers to include Holocaust books with 'opposing' views when explaining new state law
A school district superintendent in North Texas apologized Thursday night after one of the district's administrators told teachers that if they have books about the Holocaust in their classroom libraries, then they should also include books that have "opposing" views of the Holocaust.At a training session last week, a school administrator with Carroll ISD in Southlake, Texas, tried to advise elementary school teachers on how to follow new district guidelines for the vetting of books. The guidelines were issued in an attempt to align with a controversial law in Texas that seeks to restrict discussion of race and history in schools.
Carroll’s superintendent, Lane Ledbetter, issued an apology last week on behalf of Peddy and acknowledged that there "are not two sides of the Holocaust." Southlake Mayor John Huffman spoke out Saturday, issuing a statement that read: "There simply aren’t opposing viewpoints on the issue of condemning that monstrous evil, and I don’t know anyone who thinks there are."
But Monday's board meeting served as a platform for community members to express their hurt from the comments. One of the 50 people could be overheard saying: "There are not two sides to genocide."
“I’m Jewish,” Cara Serber, a mother of two students, told CBS Dallas. "My children are Jewish. So my instant reaction was to be upset." But Serber empathized with Peddy, while others at the meeting called for her firing.
"She was the mouthpiece of the administration and she got caught off guard and it wasn’t fair to her," Serber said.
Texas School District Rebukes Holocaust Statement From Curriculum Director
"We recognize that there are not two sides of the Holocaust," the district's superintendent said in a statement.In an audio clip released Thursday by NBC News, Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Carroll Independent School District (ISD), can be heard in a meeting suggesting that opposing views on the Holocaust should be included in textbooks.
Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Carroll Independent School District, made her initial comments last week when advising teachers after a fourth grade teacher had been reprimanded for keeping an anti-racism book in her classroom. Peddy made the comment about "opposing" views to teachers in a training seminar discussing which books are appropriate. A recording of her comments was shared in a report with NBC News.
"Just try to remember the concepts of (House Bill) 3979,” Peddy is heard saying in the recording. That Texas law requires teachers to provide students with multiple perspectives when discussing controversial topics.
Peddy then said: "Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives."
House Bill 3979, which went into effect last month, mandates that if public school teachers choose to discuss current events or controversial public policy or social issues, they must present numerous points of view "without giving deference to any one perspective."
Holocaust Museum Head Blames New Texas Law, Not School Official, for 'Opposing View' Remark
State law HB 3979 "puts schools and teachers in a no-win situation," said Mary Pat Higgins, CEO of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.The law, signed earlier this year by Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, was intended to prevent the teaching of critical race theory, requiring teachers to include diverse and opposing viewpoints on topics.
"How do you oppose the Holocaust?" a teacher is heard asking on the recording.
"Believe me," Peddy replied. "That’s come up."
"The administrator is not a Holocaust denier,” resident Katy Pratt said in defense of Peddy. "She made a mistake under duress. The focus should be on the law, not the administrator.”
Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, said last week in a statement that the school's interpretation of the Texas law is an "overreaction" and a "misinterpretation."
A wreath is laid at the monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, on Jan. 27, 2021, as part of world observances of the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz. Some 1.1 million people, mostly Jewish people, were killed during World War II. Most observances were held online, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and only a few people attended the ceremony at the monument.
A rose is placed on the Holocaust Memorial on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Today marks the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet Forces in 1945, where Germany's Nazis were responsible for the deaths over one million Jews and other victims during World War II.
People stand in front of a commemorative plaque at the memorial site of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, eastern Germany, on Jan. 27, 2021, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Holocaust survivor Sara Zamir, 92, receives home support from volunteers on the premises of Israel's Yad Ezer La-Haver foundation, which supports survivors of the Holocaust by providing them food as well as medical and psychological assistance, in the northern port city of Haifa on Jan. 24, 2021. The foundation, established in 2011 by Shimon Shabag has expanded its mission to bring further support during the Covid-19 pandemic to Holocaust survivors with a round-the-clock call centre with electronic monitoring, installing tablets in people's homes to allow for rapid, direct communication.
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A woman adjust flowers at the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of the Holocaust on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 27, 2021.
The words '#WeRemember' are displayed at the facade of the Austrian Parliament at the Hofburg palace in support of the campaign for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Vienna, Austria, Jan. 27, 2021. The anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz is on Jan. 27, marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Krystyna Budnicka, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor and member of the Children of the Holocaust Association points to a photo of herself at her home during International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, 2021 in Warsaw, Poland. Krystyna Budnicka was born in 1932 to a Jewish family with many children, which resided on Muranowski Square, once known as the Northern Quarter which was the center of Jewish life before World War II. Between living in the Warsaw Ghetto, bunkers, and sewers during the Warsaw Uprising, she is the only survivor, from a family of 10. Recently Krystina has overcome the COVID-19 disease which gave her the strength to pay her respects to the Holocaust victims and her family members.
The deputy director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation Philipp Neumann-Thein touches a commemorative plaque at the memorial site of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, eastern Germany, on Jan. 27, 2021, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Rabbi Elias Dray looks on as Rabbi Shaul Nekrich (R) holds up the historic Sulzbach Torah Scroll from 1792 after completing it during a ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz death camp, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan/ 27, 2021 in a Devotional room in the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) compound in Berlin, Germany.
Visitors look at portraits of Holocaust survivors in the exhibition "KZ Ÿberlebt" ("Concentration camp survives") by German photographer Stefan Hanke in Erfurt, Germany, on Jan. 27, 2021, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The outdoor exhibition shows 16 out of a total of 121 portraits of Holocaust survivors that Hanke has taken over many years in seven European countries.
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Holocaust survivor Shalom Stamberg wears a mask and keeps a safe distance from others while attending an annual International Holocaust remembrance ceremony being held outside this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, during a nation wide lockdown in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Jan. 27, 2021.
An old tram with the Star of David, like the one that travelled though Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, going down a street in Warsaw, Poland, on Jan. 27, 2021, to mark the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Nazi German death camp, where some 1.1 million people, mostly Jewish, were killed during the war.
A woman stands by stumbling stones, engraved with names of Jews killed by the Nazis, in Rome's Ghetto Jewish neighborhood, Jan. 27, 2021, on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. On Oct. 16, 1943 German occupation soldiers gathered more than 1,000 Jewish men, women and children from their homes in the Roman Ghetto and sent them to Auschwitz.
A woman walks past the Holocaust Memorial monument downtown Thessaloniki, Greece on Jan. 27, 2021, during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 65,000 Greek Jews fell victim to Nazism during World War II, 50,000 were citizens of Thessaloniki and almost 45,000 perished at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
German Parliament Vice President Claudia Roth commemorates at the Memorial for the Victims of Nazi Euthanasia Killings on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 27, 2021.
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Zygmunt Stepinski (L), the Director of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the chairman of the board of the Jewish Historical Institute Association in Poland and co-creator of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Piotr Wislicki (R) take part in a celebration by the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes during the Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, 2021 in Warsaw, Poland.
Wreaths left by German corporations, including Volkswagen, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Daimler, as well as the Borussia Dortmund football team, lie at the Track 17 memorial that commemorates Berlin Jews transported to concentration camps during the Holocaust on the International Day of Commemoration on Jan. 27, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Most of the transports from Track 17 went to the Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps.
In this photo released by Kensington Palace on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge speaks during a video call with Manfred Goldberg, top left, Zigi Shipper, top center, Farah Ali, lower left, and Maxwell Horner, as she met Holocaust survivors and youth ambassadors from the Holocaust Educational Trust to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Teacher Chiara Morabito, right with light blue backpack, explains to students of the Viscontino school the history and the meaning of the square titled Oct. 16, 1943, in Rome's Jewish neighborhood, Jan. 27, 2021. On Oct. 16, 1943 German occupation soldiers gathered more than 1,000 Jewish men, women and children from their homes in the Roman ghetto and sent them to Auschwitz.
Flowers and a wreath with the inscription "# We Remember" are placed on a commemorative plaque at the memorial site of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, eastern Germany, on Jan. 27, 2021, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Illuminated figures representing victims of the Holocaust are displayed for International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in London on Jan. 27, 2021. (Photo by Richard Heathcote / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by RICHARD HEATHCOTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 0 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_8ZN2K4.jpg
Lev Atlas, principal viola at Scottish Opera Orchestra Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, lights a candle and performs a short violin solo a new piece of music based on a Russian Gypsy folk melody at the Roma Holocaust Memorial in Queens Park on Jan. 27, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Before and during World War Two, Sinti and Roma people suffered greatly as victims of Nazi persecution and genocide. Building on long-held prejudice, the Nazi regime viewed Gypsies as racially inferior. The destiny of gypsies was similar to that of Jews.
A general view of the Natural History Museum lit in purple in respect of Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27, 2021 in London, England. Holocaust Memorial Day is an international event that remembers the millions of Jews exterminated in World War II at the hands of the Nazis. The 27th January is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, at the end of the War in 1945. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775615862 ORIG FILE ID: 1298987803
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas residents rip teachers on Holocaust remark: 'There are not two sides to a genocide'
In France, Trump-like TV pundit rocks presidential campaign .
PARIS (AP) — A survivor of the terrible journey to Auschwitz remembered how the youngest wailed. There were 99 children squeezed among 751 adults gasping for air, crazed by thirst and hunger, aboard convoy No. 63 that departed Paris at 10 minutes past midday on Dec. 17, 1943. The 828 murdered at the death camp from that trainload alone included 3-year-old Francine Baur, her sister Myriam, 9, their brothers Antoine and Pierre, 6 and 10, and their parents Odette and André. All born in France, their French citizenship proved worthless under France's wartime Vichy regime that teamed up with the country's Nazi occupiers and their extermination of Jews.