WASHINGTON – Today, Monday, January 27, 2020, U.S. Congressman took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today also marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 943 – the Never Again Education Act, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Gottheimer and endorsed by the Problem Solvers Caucus to create a new grant program for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to provide schools and teachers with the resources, tools, and training needed to teach students about the Holocaust and the repercussions that hate and intolerance can have on society.
Watch Gottheimer’s floor remarks HERE.
Gottheimer’s House floor remarks as prepared for delivery are here:
Thank you to my friend for recognizing me.
Mr. Speaker, I am humbled to be here this evening to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and, this year, the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. I would like to recognize all of my colleagues and fellow members of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism for participating in this Special Order Hour, and especially my friends Congressman Ted Deutch, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Congressman Lee Zeldin for their leadership.
Mr. Speaker, today we remember the 6 million Jews, and millions more, murdered in the Shoah. We must always remember the Holocaust and recommit to learning the lessons of the attempt to eliminate European Jewry. We all have an obligation to teach future generations about this evil and to pledge: “Never Again.”
This day is deeply significant to my family and me. I am the grandson of a World War II veteran who fought the Nazis, and my wife’s grandparents lost their entire family in the Holocaust.
It is critically important that we have come together to commemorate this solemn day. Not just to remember the victims of the Holocaust killed by the Nazis in gas chambers and concentration camps, simply for being Jews. But also, because our history teaches us that we have a responsibility to confront bigotry, hatred, and intolerance wherever it can be found.
Therefore, we cannot — and must not — ignore the stunning rise in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial – across Europe, around the world, and increasingly, here at home in the United States, including the violent, anti-Semitic attacks we have experienced in New York and New Jersey in recent months.
Furthermore, the mounting evidence that knowledge about the Holocaust is beginning to fade should also alarm us. As Elie Wiesel said: “Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger or hatred.”
According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, too many Americans know too little about the Holocaust.
For instance, less than half of all adult respondents knew that approximately 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. And just 43% knew that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany through a democratic political process.
Unfortunately, these findings echo a series of surveys conducted in the United States, Canada, Austria and France in recent years, which also found significant gaps in knowledge about the Holocaust.
We know how critical education, visiting a Holocaust museum, and meeting with survivors can be. That is why I am very proud to be a cosponsor of H.R.943, the “Never Again Education Act,” bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, to help support Holocaust education across the country.
This legislation was endorsed last year by the Problem Solvers Caucus, has been cosponsored by nearly three hundred members of Congress. I am very pleased that the House voted to pass this legislation earlier this evening.
I also believe it is more important than ever for our government to commemorate the Holocaust and educate citizens about its history. That is why I worked with my colleagues, Representatives Ted Deutch and Brad Schneider, to ensure that our country properly remembers the horrors of the Holocaust as part of the United States’ Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of World War II. Additionally, I am proud to be a cosponsor of the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act, which would provide better care to the approximately 80,000 survivors currently living in the United States.
Finally, I am deeply grateful for, and very proud to support the critical, ongoing work of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoys for Holocaust Issues and for Combating Anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program.
This past Fall, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to tour the permanent exhibition.
As President Clinton observed at the opening of the Museum, “one of the eternal lessons to which this museum bears strong witness is that the struggle against darkness will never end and the need for vigilance will never fade.”
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who have gathered here on this solemn day. Given the rise of anti-Semitism here at home and around the world, we need leaders willing to stand up now, and stand together against antisemitism, and all forms of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance, which have no place in our country or world.
Let us always remember the victims of the Holocaust and take care of the survivors and their descendants. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.