Culture Faith Institutions News Politics

Trump statement on Holocaust remembrance does not mention Jews

President Trump walks through the colonnade to the Oval Office after returning to the White House in Washington on Jan. 26, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Joshua Roberts

(RNS) In a departure from past practice, President Trump’s statement on Friday (Jan. 27) marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day does not say anything about the deaths of six million Jews — a lapse the head of the Anti-Defamation League called “puzzling and troubling.”

The White House statement with Trump’s remarks “misses that it was six million Jews who perished, not just ‘innocent people,’” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the ADL shortly after the comments were released.

“Puzzling and troubling” that it “has no mention of Jews,” Greenblatt added in a follow-up tweet.

Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, also blasted the statement.

“How can you forget, Mr. President, that six million Jews were murdered because they were Jews?” Goldstein said.

“You chose the vague phrase ‘innocent people.’ They were Jews, Mr. President. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, you forget the Jews, and later today you plan to issue new executive orders persecuting refugees and immigrants. Have you no decency?”

International Holocaust Remembrance Day was established by the United Nations in 2005 to commemorate the deaths of the six million Jews as well as an estimated two million Roma and thousands of disabled and gay people at the hands of the Nazis.

A separate Holocaust Remembrance Day was established by Israel in the 1950s to mark the Jewish losses in particular, a day which is also traditionally marked by an American presidential proclamation.

But Greenblatt noted that both Republican and Democratic presidents — including all of Obama’s statements on the occasion — always clearly highlighted the centrality of the genocide of the Jewish people on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In the brief, three-paragraph statement, Trump says that “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,” he continued, again referring only to “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,” he concluded. “Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

That generic phrasing contrasts considerably with Obama’s fuller statements on the memorial day, which always spoke about the sufferings of the Jewish people, even though Trump has consistently portrayed Obama as a foe of the Jews and Israel.

The failure of the White House to mention the distinctive Jewish losses in the Holocaust could also be problematic given that Trump has been accused of invoking anti-Semitic stereotypes and that his aides have been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes.

He has also been criticized for failing to call out virulent anti-Semitism among some of his supporters.

Twitter has become an easy channel for attacking Jews, and Greenblatt was immediately subject to numerous ugly responses.

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

53 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Well, f*ck it. YOUR statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day makes no mention of my ancestors who were in the camps.

    So what?? He chose to use more inclusive language than you did. A horrible person with terrible policy ideas but not every little thing needs to be scrutinized. And in this case, it might even be better this way.

    Reminds me of the sign that went up in my High School around the time when history classes covered the WWII era: “Remember the Six Million”, but just forget the other five million I guess.

  • Nit-picking, perhaps. Trump has come out as very pro-Israel so I don’t believe he’s anti-Semitic and I’m pretty sure he didn’t write this speech himself. Maybe the speechwriter made the decision. It should be obvious (you would think) who perished in the Holocaust. Well, it seems almost as many others died – gays, the disabled, communists and political prisoners, Jehovah’s Witnesses and religious groups not signing the loyalty pledge and the untermenschen (Poles and eastern Europeans). They don’t get the remembrance they deserve.

  • Well it’s a good reminder of the tens of thousands of people fleeing the Nazis who were turned away from the US. Refugees who were murdered by the Nazis because of immigration restrictions and anti semitism which was endemic to the state dept.

  • I would like to see a day set aside to commemorate the tens of millions of Eastern European Christians, mostly Russians and Ukrainians, exterminated by Jewish Bolsheviks in the 1920s and 1930s.

    A important first step would be the construction of a Holodomor genocide memorial in Washington DC, to pay tribute to the 10 million Ukrainian Christians liquidated by Jewish Bolshevik authorities.

    Below excerpts taken from the Israeli ynet news website article <b entitled: “Stalin’s Jews: We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

    In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin.

    An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD.
    Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system.

  • “Jewish Bolshevism, also known as Judeo-Bolshevism, is an antisemitic and anti-communist canard which alleges that the Jews were at the origin of the Russian Revolution and held the primary power among Bolsheviks. Similarly, the Jewish Communism theory implies that Jews have been dominating the Communist movements in the world. It is similar to the ZOG conspiracy theory, which asserts that Jews control world politics.[1] The expressions have been used as a catchword for the assertion that Communism is a Jewish conspiracy.

    “In Poland, ‘Judeo-Bolshevism’ was known as ‘Żydokomuna’ and was used as an antisemitic stereotype.[2]

    “The expression was the title of a pamphlet, The Jewish Bolshevism, and became current after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, featuring prominently in the propaganda of the anti-communist ‘White’ forces during the Russian Civil War.

    “The theory was later propagated by the Nazi Party and their American sympathizers.[3][4][5][6]”

    [1] Alderman 1983.

    [2] Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, “Żydzi w kierownictwie UB. Stereotyp czy rzeczywistość?”, Biuletyn IPN (11/2005), pp. 37-42

    [3] Partridge, Christopher and Ron Geaves. (2007). Antisemitism, conspiracy culture, Christianity, and Islam: the history and contemporary religious significance of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. In: James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer (eds.) The Invention of Sacred Tradition. pp. 75-95. [Online]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available from: Cambridge Books Online doi:10.1017/CBO9780511488450.005 [Accessed 12 April 2016]

    [4] Frederickson, Kari (1996). “CATHRINE CURTIS AND CONSERVATIVE ISOLATIONIST WOMEN, 1939-1941”. The Historian. 58 (4): 826. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.1996.tb00977.x. ISSN 0018-2370.

    [5] Glen Jeansonne (9 June 1997). Women of the Far Right: The Mothers’ Movement and World War II. University of Chicago Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-226-39589-0.

    [6] Laqueur, Walter Ze’ev (1965-01-01). Russia and Germany. Transaction Publishers. p. 105. ISBN 9781412833547.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Bolshevism

  • “You must understand. The leading Bolsheviks who took over Russia were not Russians. They hated Russians. They hated Christians. Driven by ethnic hatred they tortured slaughtered millions of Russians without a shred of human remorse. The October Revolution was not what you call in America the ‘Russian Revolution.’ It was an invasion and conquest over the Russian people. More of my countrymen suffered horrific crimes at their bloodstained hands than any people or nation ever suffered in the entirety of human history. It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time. The fact that most of the world is ignorant of this reality is proof that the global media itself is in the hands of the perpetrators.” — (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

    Four of the largest five entertainment giants are now run or owned by Jews. [Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (at number four) is the only gentile holdout – however, Rupert is as pro-Israel as any Jew, probably more so.” — (Los Angeles Jewish Times Oct. 29. 1999) [other sources claim Murdoch’s mother, Elisabeth J. Greene, is Jewish]

    Who runs Hollywood? C’mon. December 19, 2008|JOEL STEIN

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/opinion/oe-stein19

  • “It is probably unwise to say this loudly in the United States, but the Bolshevik movement is and has been since its beginning, guided and controlled by Russian Jews of the greasiest type…” ~ Captain Schuyler, American army intelligence officer in Russia during the revolution. (in his official report)
    See [U.S. National Archives. (1919). Record Group 120: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, June 9.]

    “The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and 90 percent of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country but are internationalists and they are trying to start a world-wide social revolution.” — (David Francis, American Ambassador to Russia at the time of the Revolution.). See [Francis, D. R. (1921). Russia From the American Embassy. New York: C. Scribner’s & Sons. p.214.]

  • A table made up in 1918, by Robert Wilton, correspondent of the London Times in Russia, shows at that time there were 384 commissars including 2 Negroes, 13 Russians, 15 Chinamen, 22 Armenians and more than 300 Jews. Of the latter number 264 had come from the United States since the downfall of the Imperial Government.

    The directorate of British Intelligence sent to America and other nations a lengthy report dated July 16, 1919, on Bolshevism abroad. It was called “A Monthly Review of the Progress of Revolutionary Movements Abroad.” This lengthy report lists the Communist movements in the major nations of the world. The first sentence in the first paragraph on the first page of this British government report bluntly states: “There is now definite evidence that Bolshevism is an international movement controlled by Jews.”

  • You are only proving the point that there was a lot Jew hatred throughout Eastern Europe and the Balkans. My father’s family comes from Lithuania, so I will use Lithuania as an example. Ninety percent of Lithuanian Jews were killed during the Holocaust. It could not have happened without the support of Christian Lithuanians. There might have been a few deluded Jews who thought that the Communists might give them a break from Christian persecution. The Orthodox churches have never had the equivalent of a Vatican II. However, the Communists were just as antisemitic as the previous rulers were. I don’t think that facts will affect your alternative facts and just plain fantasies.

  • Being pro-Israel does not prove that you are not antisemitic. Only the Jews were singled out for complete annhilaltion. Even in Hell, there are rungs of suffering. He could have mentioned all those other groups too, but I doubt he would have mentioned Gays.

  • True but not mentioning it is also not clear evidence of being anti-semetic on the part of Trump. I despise Trump but I also despise labelling someone without proof.

  • Nobel Prizewinner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his opus, The Gulag Archipelago, using the research of a Soviet statistician who had access to secret government files, I. A. Kurganov, estimated that between 1918 and 1959, at least 66 million died at the hands of the Communist rulers of Russia. Although that number may be far too high, in Gulag Archipelago II, Solzhenitsyn affirms that Jews created and administered the organized Soviet concentration camp system in which tens of millions of Christians died. Pictured on page 79 of the Gulag Archipelago II are the leading administrators of the greatest killing machine in the history of the world. They are Aron Solts, Yakov Rappoport, Lazar Kogan, Matvei Berman, Genrikh Yagoda, and Naftaly Frenkel. All six are Jews.

  • According the ISRAELI ynet news website article linked below, “in 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin.” — Christian Lithuanians viewed the Third Reich’s forces as liberators from the genocidal Jewish Bolshevik security apparatuses.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

    Jews holding 38.5% of the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses, is not “a few deluded Jews,” especially considering that Jews made up around 2% of the Soviet Union’s population in the 1930s.

  • (((hypocrites))) like you expect people of Christian European heritage to accept the government enforced Holocaust narrative, while utterly rejecting the dominant role played by Jewish Bolsheviks in genociding tens of millions of Christians in Russia, Ukraine, etc.

  • So you know how to cut and paste but also are too much of a liar to bother providing links to your quotes.

    So your claim is all Jews are collectively responsible for communism. Typical neo Nazi bullshit.

  • Being of Jewish origin, does not mean you’re Jewish. I suppose you are a Nazi who thinks that any Jewish blood overrides all else.

  • Solzhenitsyn was a antisemite. He won a Nobel Prize for Literature. He didn’t win a Nobel Peace Prize. Otherwise great artists have been antisemites. Those people have Jewish last names, that does not make them Jewish. There is a journalist for the Guardian whose last name is Cohen, but his grandfather was Jewish but no one after that was Jewish

  • Trump may or may not be personally antisemitic, but he is willing to accept antisemitism is his administration and in his followers. He seems to think that it is politically expedient. It has been so far. The press and Trump’s critics have mostly ignored that Jews could be victims of a Trump administration. There are still Jews in Iran and Syria that would also be banned from immigrating. At least now they have an option of going to Israel.

  • He could have Jews and other innocent people. or innocent people, many of them Jews, but he didn’t. Of course, he wouldn’t mention Gays, because he wants to discriminate against Gays.

  • OK, now you’ve gone into Holocaust denial and you have created your own facts. Yes, I’m Jewish. I’m not trying to hide that. You don’t need to put in triple parentheses which is a tactic of the far right.

  • Trump just put Stephen Bannon on the NSC and I’m paranoid? The popular vote went to Clinton. I’ve talked to many Trump voters and they thought much of what he said was campaign rhetoric and he would never ban people from some countries or really end Obamacare and I”m the child? At least the lefties weren’t fooled by Trump.

  • There was massive antisemitism in Britain, especially among the elite, who still governed Britain in 1918. You can’t take that statement seriously. You’ve obviously got it from an antisemitic web site.

  • The Christian Church has taught hatred of Jews since it inception. Also, because people hate anyone who is different. It is certainly not the Jews fault for continuing to exist.

  • So Jews are responsible for the stories and accounts of everyone else? I have heard of collective responsibility, but this is ridiculous.

  • After all the largest and most organized act of genocide by a developed nation during the world’s largest and most costly conflict is nothing special.

    It’s not like it’s memorable or something.

  • Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, speaking before a rally in New York in 1938, said:

    “I am not an American citizen of the Jewish faith, I am a Jew. I am an American. I have been an American for sixty-three sixty-fourths of my life, but I have been a Jew for 4000 years. Hitler was right in one thing. He calls the Jewish people a race and we are a race.” [See: Wise (1938). Dr. Wise Urges Jews To Declare Selves As Such. New York Herald Tribune. June 13. p.12.]

    Medical geneticist Harry Ostrer insists the ‘biological basis of Jewishness’ cannot be ignored. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/dna-links-prove-jews-are-a-race-says-genetics-expert-1.428664

  • Haim Cohen, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Israel, noted: “…the bitter irony of fate which has led to the same biological and racist laws propagated by the Nazis and which inspired the infamous Nuremberg laws, to serve as a basis for the definition of Judaism within the State of Israel.” ~ (Badi, J. (1960). Fundamental Laws Of The State Of Israel. New York. p.156.)

    “Not Jewish Enough to Marry a Cohen.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/not-jewish-enough-to-marry-a-cohen-1.150715

    This article discusses how a Jewish lady named Irina Plotnikov who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU) in 1992, was ruled ineligible to marry a Cohen by a rabbinic court in Jerusalem because her father is not Jewish.

  • Jewish American scientist, author, and arch hypocrite Jared Diamond, is best known for insisting that race doesn’t exist, but is also on record as boasting that DNA has finally been able to scientifically define who is a Jew which will be a boost to Israel!

    There are also practical reasons for interest in Jewish genes. The state of Israel has been going to much expense to support immigration and job retraining of Jews who were persecuted minorities in other countries. That immediately poses the problem of defining who is a Jew. For example, a debate is going on right now [November 1993] in Israel concerning policy toward Ethiopia’s remaining would-be immigrants who identify themselves as Jews. Are they descendants of ancient Jews, as they maintain, or are they descendants of converted Africans, as their physical appearance might suggest?” (Jared Diamond, “Who Are the Jews?” Natural History, November 1993, p.12.)

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/russian-speakers-who-want-to-immigrate-could-need-dna-test/

    Israeli Prime Minister’s Office says would-be immigrants from the former Soviet Union may be subjected to DNA tests to prove Jewish bloodline.

  • Because it’s a great topic for scumbags to commiserate over. You get to hang out with both nazis and Islamicists. Such wonderful people.

  • No. It is what ignorant people who can’t separate antisemitic stereotypes from reality believe is the content of our character.

  • German Jews were the most assimilated in Europe. They had an unrequited love for German culture. They were loyal German citizens and many of them served in WWI. They certainly did not declare war on Germany first.

  • The link doesn’t mention Jared Diamond nor is there any record of him saying what you attribute to him. So when have you stopped being a liar?

  • Are you really that stupid, or are you just pretending? The Times of Israel link was with reference to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office saying would-be immigrants from the former Soviet Union may be subjected to DNA tests to prove their Jewish bloodline.

    Are you blind perhaps? I gave a reference for the Jared Diamond statement, here it is again. (Jared Diamond, “Who Are the Jews?” Natural History, November 1993, p.12.)

  • And YOU could have said “foreign refugees and other innocent people” but you didn’t.

    Are you intentionally trying to slight my ancestors who were in the camps for being foreign refugees??

  • NO WE CAN’T.

    Do you know what happens whenever anyone mentions the Holocaust without explicitly mentioning the Jewish experience??

    I’ll give you a hint. It’s this article. This exact thing.

    Look, if I went and gathered the money, and put together a collection of stories about the experiences of foreign refugees in the Nazi camps, if I sought to tell THOSE people’s stories, the experiences of my own family, then people would complain that it was “troubling” that I hadn’t mentioned the Jewish experience.

    I think Trump has terrible policies, but this I don’t care about.

    He talked about ALL the victims, together, and you have a problem that he didn’t explicitly pay homage to one specific group. This happens every time someone tries to speak generally about the victims of the holocaust, yet the people who speak up about Trump failing to mention the Jews don’t care when someone doesn’t mention the LGBT, Romani, disabled, or foreigner experiences in the camps. Why the double standard here??

    Again, it’s “remember the six million”, but don’t bother caring about anyone else, apparently.

  • Trump was assuming that anyone who knows about the holocaust knows that it involved the Jewish people. Perhaps he is giving ‘way too much credit to America’s public school system!

  • Is there some reason why the link to the “three-paragraph statement” takes us to Our Donnie’s campaign website?

  • Bullshit.

    How many memorials and museums are set up by descendants of the non Jewish victims? Has there been any effort by those communities to preserve the memory and history of their holocaust experience. What you see today is the destination of efforts by Jews themselves to record their own history. Nobody is stopped from doing the same. You weren’t. In fact it is encouraged. But the fact is few groups were really so willing to preserve the memories there.

    If you have ever been to the USHMM you will notice the first exhibits deal with the murder of the infirmed and the imprisonment of political prisoners. As well as mention of the Roma people, JWs and gays.

  • Judea declared war on Germany because Germany deserved it. Or…..Judea declared war on Germany is just a conspiracy theory.
    Jews are Angels. Anything less is anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

  • “On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, you forget the Jews, and later today you plan to issue new executive orders persecuting refugees and immigrants. Have you no decency?”

    Based on his behavior in office thus far, I’d say, “No.”

    “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,”

    But, but . . . you ARE The Forces of Evil.

ADVERTISEMENTs