In the New Testimony of Holocaust Survivor, Hate Speech is a Dangerous Seed

So far, more than 30 videos, each a little over a minute in length, have been uploaded by Holocaust survivors. The videos will be posted every week on the Claims Conference social media platforms.

One of the first is by Abraham H. Foxman, who was born in Eastern Europe in 1940 and was saved from the Holocaust by a Catholic nanny. He immigrated to the United States in 1950 and joined the Anti-Defamation League the day after passing the order exam. He retired from the organization in 2015.

In his campaign video, he talks about the beginning of the Holocaust.

“The crematoriums, the gas chambers in Auschwitz and elsewhere did not start with bricks, they started with words – profanity, hateful words, anti-Semitic words, words of prejudice,” said Foxman, 81. “And they were allowed to practice violence because of the absence of words, because of the silence.”

Credit…United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In his testimony, Mr. Zoltak, 89, described a visit to his grandparents in 1935, when he was 4, in the Polish village where they operated a warehouse. He remembered young Poles in front of the store, “not allowing people to enter, with signs that said ‘Don’t buy from a Jew'”.

Zoltak said he still did not know what anti-Semitism was, but it was his first meeting with him.

About seven years later, he and his parents escaped from a “ghetto that was being liquidated”. He recalled that his mother, who sought help from friends and former classmates, knocked on her doors, only to be called “dirty” and sent away.