The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/w/wiesenthal.simon/call-for-conference.1195

From Sat Feb  3 09:29:47 PST 1996
Article: 22528 of alt.revisionism
From: James Costello 
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Wiesenthal Calls for Conference
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 1996 23:21:59 -0800 (PST)
Lines: 143

50th Session of the General Assembly United Nations Year for Tolerance 

Statement by Mr. Simon Wiesenthal Member of the delegation of Austria
New York, November 20, 1995

 It is a great honor for me to be allowed to speak to this audience at
the end of the "Year of Tolerance" as the representative from Austria.
In four years we will be standing at the end of this century, which has
been rightly termed "a century of crimes." Thus there is the need to
speak about tolerance and also to act on this principle.

 Only a short time ago, the world was shocked by the senseless
assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv. There could
be no better example of what can happen as a result of lack of
tolerance, the inability to deal with differences of opinion in any
other way than with aggression. It made clear to us once again how much
hatred and how little tolerance there is in the world.

 In this century I have myself seen communism become a form of
government under Stalin and - thankfully - I have seen it's downfall. I
have seen the rise of National Socialism under Hitler - and I lived to
see its downfall as well. Both of these regimes set measures that cost
millions of lives. In the Soviet Union the victims were mainly Soviet
citizens, whereby the exact numbers are still unknown, as all figures
named so far have been estimates. The Nazi regime was also responsible
for the deaths of millions of foreign nationals: altogether about 50
million people including six million Jewish victims were killed as a
result of the war and the innumerable crimes committed in the countries
occupied by Nazi Germany. Together, these two dictatorships extinguished
about 100 million human lives during this century.

 Underlying both Stalinist and National Socialism were two fundamentals:
hate and technology. Even after the First World War, with its millions
of victims, many nations had already pledged to never again wage war. On
August 27, 1928, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Japan,
Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the United States of America signed the
so-called Kellogg Agreement with the aim of ensuring peace. This was
followed by a series of disarmament conferences to reduce arms of all
kinds. All of these efforts were cut short, however, when National
Socialism came to power in Germany. Another terrible world war began
and, with it, the loss of human rights for the suffering civilian

There were again millions of victims, and especially the Holocaust, the
systematic extermination of six million Jews, has gone down in history
as an unprecedented example of crime. The holocaust has come to server
as a warning for the future of mankind and must continue to serve as a
reminder to future generations.

 At the Nuremberg Trials, when it came to judging those responsible for
the Second World War after National Socialism had collapsed, the charges
also included explicit reference to the violations of the Kellogg Plan.
As long as there are still survivors of the two named dictatorships and
their satellites, these people - and not only those directly affected -
will ask themselves what has to be done in order to prevent a repetition
of the terrible atrocities that have taken place in our century. 

Should there be more disarmament conferences? And what about the other
fundamental that fanned the flames of aggression at the onset of all
these immense crimes - the element of hate? So far, the holding of
conferences aimed at reducing hatred has not even been considered. How
then shall and can we ban hatred from people's hearts - or at least
reduce it? If we succeed in reducing this hatred in individuals, then
politicians - who are paying increased attention to people's feelings
and also incorporating these in their policies - will see to it that
more emphasis is placed on the importance of tolerance in our societies.
The younger generation must be warned against prejudices, especially
against the prejudice of racial hatred, which has always led only to
immeasurable human suffering.

 Until recently we could still believe that wars can be prevented if
conflicts are solved through talks and agreements - under the motto: "As
long as talks are going on there will be no shooting." Today, however,
in former Yugoslavia, we are made to see hatred gaining the upper hand
again and becoming the motivating force for the most atrocious deeds.

 Please allow me to tell you about an institution in Los Angeles that
was named after me. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has built a large museum
called the "Museum of Tolerance." If you have an opportunity to visit
this Museum, you will be vividly informed about human rights violations
and genocides - not only about the Holocaust against the Jews but also
about the genocide of the Armenians, the people of Cambodia, and so on.
The Museum's impressive audiovisual presentations implore the visitor to
ask: "How can we prevent a repetition of such crimes in the future?" At
the exit of the museum stands a sign with the answer spelled out in
large neon letters. The answer is TOLERANCE. Tolerance is the
prerequisite for the peaceful coexistence of all people on this earth
and the only alternative to the hatred that led to the horrible crimes
against humanity. Hatred is the evil opposite of tolerance. Hatred
instills in the young the concept of an enemy even in early years; it
leads to radical words which are then followed by radical action

 I would therefore like to make the following proposal: let us try to
organize a worldwide conference aimed at reducing hate. Technology
without hate can be so very beneficial for mankind, but in conjunction
with hatred it leads to disaster. 

The most important participants in such a conference - which should of
course be held under the patronage of the United Nations - would be
representatives of the monotheistic and other religions. Through
religious networks the greater part of mankind could be reached. The
representatives of the various religions - in keeping with their moral
duties - will work for mutual respect and support among men and against
hatred. By spreading positive messages in churches, temples and
synagogues they can reach more people than all political parties put
together. If religious representatives can agree to make the gradual
elimination of hatred a major common concern, they will also find ways
of informing and influencing their believers throughout the world.

 Being an Austrian, I could imagine that such an international
conference take place in our small country located at the center of
Europe. In the course of its history, Austria was frequently the scene
of hate; today, however, it lives in perfect amity with all of its
neighbors, unstrained by any claims outside of its existing borders. Our
country is an obvious international meeting place having often been the
site of international events in the past. Moreover, all steps to
strengthen tolerance and reduce hate would be actively supported by
Austria's government and its population. 

 In this connection, I would like to point out that in the past 50 years
the small republic of Austria, in contrast to other, significantly
larger countries, has achieved great things where humanitarian aid for
refugees - the most unfortunate victims of hate - is concerned.

 I would personally be very pleased if my proposal to hold such a
conference in Vienna were to be accepted by the representatives of other
countries who have spoken or will speak to you on this occasion to mark
the Year of Tolerance. As a survivor of the Nazi period - my wife and I
lost 89 family members in the Holocaust - I have dedicated my life to
the struggle for justice. The title of one of my last books is "Justice
Not Vengeance", because my work was never motivated by hate or revenge.
I would therefore feel very honored if many people of good will and with
firm intention to conquer the hate in this world were to come to Vienna
to take part in a conference having this aim.

 I thank you kindly for your attention and convey to you warm greeting
>from  the people and the government of Austria. And I promise, I will
continue to work for tolerance and human rights.

 Copyright ) 1995, The Simon Wiesenthal Center 9760 West Pico Boulevard,
Los Angeles, California 90035

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