LONDON – Abe Foxman was one year old when the Nazis ordered his parents to report to a Jewish ghetto in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1941.
His maternal grandmother, a Catholic, told him to leave the child with him, hoping that he would return several weeks later.
Foxman’s years with him lasted until his parents returned. He moved to the US in 1950 at the age of 10 – but his early life experience never left him.
The 80-year-old Foxman said, “I am a survivor, who can give rise to good words.” “My grandmother protected me by risking my life for four years and while hiding me, gave me a false identity.”
Feldman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League, is one of several high-profile survivors to join a new campaign, #ItStartedWithScript, reflecting on the origins of the Holocaust.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
The campaign has been inspired by the New York City-based nonprofit Claims Conference, which works to secure compensation for survivors from the German government. It is supported by the United Nations and Holocaust museums worldwide, and is being launched on the Jewish community’s Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday.
And the new campaign for awareness comes as elections show an increase in anti-Semitism around the world, as well as a lack of awareness among adults under 40.
The Clems Conference reported to 1,000 adults that it was the first 50-state survey of knowledge of the Holocaust between millennials and Generation Z. This showed that about half of the respondents could not name a single name of the concentration camps or ghettos established during World War II. . More than half of the people were unable to identify the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, and 11 percent believed that the Jews caused the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, the FBI reported that more than 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes were directed at Jews in 2019, and a survey released in March by the Anti-Defamation League and YouGov showed 63 percent of Jews in the US say Is that they are either experienced or witness to some form of semicolonism in the last five years.
“Around the world, it’s hate, making other people inhumane, and we’re seeing it now with Asian Americans,” said Greg Schneider, Claims Conference Executive Vice President.
“People don’t get up one day to say that I want to commit mass murder today, but it’s a process that over time makes people inhuman. He starts with words and thoughts.
Research published last month by the Center for the Study of the Hate and Extremeism at California State University, San Bernardino, showed that hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent increased by about 150 percent in 2020.
The former leader of Germany’s Jewish community told in a video produced for the Dawa conference how at the age of 4, she was not allowed to play with other children across the street from her Munich home one day.
88-year-old Charlotte Knobloch said, “The apartment manager came out and yelled at me, ‘Jewish children are not allowed to play with our children.” “I didn’t even know what Jews were.”
The campaign received a push from survivors, the youngest of whom are now in their late 70s and worried that the lessons of the Holocaust are now being forgotten.
“There is a politicization, there is a lack of truth, there is a lie, there is no consensus on citizenship, nobody listens to each other. All taboos have been broken on respect and tolerance, ”Foxman said. “Sadly, 75 years after the Holocaust, it’s time to remind people what words can do.”