On this designated Day of Remembrance at the United Nations, we survivors of the Holocaust from Pittsburgh commend the United Nations on the establishment of this day after many years of delay. It is 65 years since World War II ended, along with one of the greatest stains on humankind -- the Holocaust. We returned from this horror and rebuilt our lives, hoping for a world in peace, watching with joy and pain the establishment of the state of Israel in our ancestral homeland, where many survivors settled and fought for independence.
So why is it that in the first decade of the 21st century we feel as if we are reliving the 1930s in Europe with the burning of synagogues, attacks on Jewish institutions and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries? Need we remind you that hate unleashed has no borders, no restraints.
Israel is a democratic state where minorities are represented in government, where more than 1 million refugees and immigrants from around the world have been absorbed, where universities, technical institutions, high-tech industries and hospitals have been built which employ and serve these minorities and immigrants. Yet, we hear the calls to eliminate Israel from membership in the United Nations and are frustrated by and fearful of the relentless verbal attacks on Israel within its chambers, including those from heads of state who deny the Holocaust ever happened.
The following words of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the report of the Program of Outreach on the "Holocaust and the United Nations" should be an inspiration to us all:
"We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today's world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples must enjoy the protections and rights for which the United Nations stands." -- Jan. 27, 2007
We hope and pray that the secretary-general and all the U.N. members will have the courage and strength to make the above quoted words the banner and goal of the United Nations.
The Holocaust Survivors Organization of Pittsburgh