Borough Park

Brooklyn pols express shock at Trump Holocaust statement

President makes no mention of Jews on Remembrance Day

February 1, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Holocaust memorial stands at the waterfront in Sheepshead Bay. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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A decision by President Donald Trump to omit references to the suffering of Jews at the hands of Nazis in his official statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day is still having ramifications in Brooklyn as two of the borough’s lawmakers expressed shock and outrage over the omission.

Assemblymember Dov Hikind and state Sen. Daniel Squadron both issued statements highly critical of the Trump administration.

“It is utterly horrendous and unconscionable for President Trump and his administration to omit Jews from the text of his statement when talking about International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Holocaust was undoubtedly a systematic attempt to annihilate the Jewish people, and the failure to acknowledge that is a desecration of their memory,” said Hikind (D-Borough Park-Midwood), whose parents were Holocaust survivors.

Borough Park, which makes up the largest part of Hikind’s assembly district, has a large population of residents who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand.

“As a child of Holocaust survivors whose parents and grandparents went to Auschwitz, and as a representative of the largest population of Holocaust survivors in the U.S., it is egregious and a slap in the face to the millions of Jews whose lives were forever changed as a result of the Holocaust,” he said.

The official White House statement from President Trump, issued on International Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27, reads as follows: “It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent. In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my presidency and my life to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

The United Nations designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005. Events commemorating the deaths of six millions Jews and millions of other victims are held each year on Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights-DUMBO-Downtown Brooklyn) said the White House simply cannot ignore the fact that the Holocaust was aimed primarily at the Jewish people.

“The Holocaust was built on a fascist nationalism with a goal to exterminate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. To ignore that is to deny that, and to deny that is to erase it,” Squadron said. “We have to ask, why at a time and a moment we as a country and a world should be recommitting ourselves to the eternal memory of the six million so that we can prevent any horror against any people of that scale in the future, our President would chose to erase the suffering and murder of Jews from this day? Holocaust Remembrance Day exists to make sure that we remember that we never forget the horrors of the Holocaust.”

White House officials told reporters that the statement was an acknowledgement that millions of people of all religions were wiped out by the Nazis.

Hikind suggested that the Trump administration issue an apology for excluding Jews when talking about Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“This sets a terrible precedent and is so utterly disrespectful to the millions affected. It is my hope that President Trump acknowledges this horrible mistake and issues an apology to the Jewish community,” Hikind said.

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