Yad Vashem statement stresses Holocaust was ‘unprecedented genocide of six million Jews’

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum said in a statement that the Holocaust was “was the unprecedented genocide of six million Jews.”

The Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem issued a statement Tuesday discussing several of the events it held in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Yad Vashem representatives stressed to all that the Holocaust was the unprecedented genocide of six million Jews, perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, motivated by a radically racist, anti-Semitic ideology, which sought the annihilation of the Jewish people, its culture and its heritage. The Nazis’ barbaric intent and policy to wipe out an entire people violated the fundamental tenets of human morality, thus making the Holocaust a distinct event of eternal universal significance,” the statement said.

It added: “Yad Vashem emphasizes the imperative to understand the Holocaust in a historically accurate manner, in order to ensure that it remains a perpetually relevant component of human consciousness and discourse throughout the world.”


The statement comes a day after The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum released a statement which said:  “Millions of other innocent civilians were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, but the elimination of Jews was central to Nazi policy.”

That statement also said: “As Elie Wiesel said, ‘Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims. … The Holocaust teaches us profound truths about human societies and our capacity for evil. An accurate understanding of this history is critical if we are to learn its lessons and honor its victims.”

The statements come in the wake of a controversy over the White House’s Holocaust commemoration statement issued on Friday, which failed to mention Jews

Jewish critics have said that omitting Jews from Holocaust commemoration statements, wittingly or not, plays into the agenda of groups that seek to diminish the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

Since the controversy erupted, Trump administration spokesmen, including his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and his spokesman, Sean Spicer, have doubled down on the argument that it is better not to single out Jews in order to be “inclusive.”