Watch the Commissioner's statement by clicking here

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day 77 years ago, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp, where more than a million people were killed, was liberated.

The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored, persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945 across Europe and North Africa. While Jews were the primary victims, the Nazis also targeted other groups for persecution and murder including but not limited to Romas, people with disabilities, some Slavic peoples, and Black people.

Antisemitism still exists today and is actively on the rise. We see it in direct actions of violence like the recent hostage taking at Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018 that claimed 11 lives and was titled the worst act of anti-Semitic violence in American history. And there are less-violent forms of antisemitism, like harassment, offensive slurs, bullying, threats of violence, and Holocaust denial. Both of my children have had direct experiences of this and it is rampant in our schools. They tell me stories that freeze my blood. The Holocaust was not that long ago. None of this is acceptable. 

Please take the time today to reflect on the millions of lives that were stolen by the hands of hate. We cannot afford to forget, we cannot afford to let antisemitism and hatred continue to thrive in our communities.  

I will finish by reading the names of some of my own family members who were murdered in the Holocaust, including at Auschwitz:

  • Moritz and Rosa Meieranovski
  • Jacob Meieran
  • Elinor Meieran
  • Charles Meieranovski
  • Sigurd Levin
  • Martin Meszansky
  • Herman Messner
  • Elias and Dora Laznik
  • Katie Laznik
  • Anna Laznik
  • Bertha Kazerjinski
  • Herman Valner
  • Sigmund Bernstein
  • Josef Raskov
  • Isaksen Leimann
  • Bernard Leinann
  • Dina Leimann