Blog: Through Testimony

Blog Posts by Stephen Smith

  • October 29, 2018
    The history of antisemitism is strewn with the corpses of Jews who could not get out of the way when words turned to violence. The slaying of innocent Jewish lives by Pittsburgh gunman Robert Bowers, who this weekend turned his rhetoric about killing Jews into the actual killing of Jewish people, is the latest example. We need laws to allow intervention much earlier, or this will not be the last time we see Jewish people die in America because they are Jews.
  • July 31, 2018
    The young Nazi approached 13-year-old Szulem Czygielmamn as he walked on the sidewalk of Lubartowska Street in Lublin, Poland, and shoved him off the sidewalk. Szulem was lucky; Jews had died for less.
  • July 20, 2018
    Those who openly deny the Holocaust are either apologists for the Nazis, right wing radicals, religious extremists, and all are antisemites, even if they deny that too.
  • July 9, 2018

    It’s hard to imagine I’m even typing this sentence, but an avowed Holocaust denier is the official Republican nominee for an upcoming congressional election in Illinois, while a man whose website warns of a “Jewish supremacy” is running in California.

  • May 8, 2018
    When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the claim that Jews were targeted in the Holocaust for their “social function” in banking and not for their religion, he was not ranting from the podium or calling for death to the Jews. His approach was much more subtle, and therefore much more sinister.
  • May 7, 2018
    In 2003, I and others were preparing for the opening of the Kigali Genocide Memorial to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda when a volunteer data collector emptied the contents of a brown manila envelope onto my desk. There on top of the pile of papers and photos was a photo of two little girls.
  • March 30, 2018

    Mireille Knoll managed to survive the Nazis during the Holocaust, but antisemitism is ancient and tenacious, and its tentacles finally caught up with her last week at her home in Paris.

    The 85-year-old Knoll was stabbed 11 times and burned after attackers – a neighbor and a homeless man – tried to set her apartment ablaze. The men, both in their 20s, were later arrested for a crime that is being investigated as an antisemitic attack.

    “She’s a Jew, she must have money,” said one attacker to the other, according to Gérard Collomb, the interior minister of France.

  • March 23, 2018

    It’s hard to imagine I’m even typing this sentence, but an avowed Holocaust denier on Tuesday became the official Republican nominee for an upcoming congressional election in Illinois.

    Arthur Jones won the primary despite the fact that he once led the American Nazi Party and has freely shared his antisemitic views.

    Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that Arthur Jones received more than 20,000 votes, according to preliminary results.

  • February 16, 2018

    At the exact moment a former student was destroying lives at Stoneman Douglas High School, a group of students inside a classroom was studying ways to make the world a better place.

    These were students in a Holocaust history class, where they were exploring the 1936 Olympics in an IWitness learning activity to teach them about compassion and respect, and about the perils of living a life filled with hate and violence.

  • February 9, 2018

    Even absent this current era of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” the new Polish law making it a crime to point out Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust would be alarming. 

    But that it is occurring in today’s climate of demagoguery, heightened nationalism and ethnic tension – an unholy trio that threatens to metastasize on a global scale – is a troubling development.

    Poland’s effort has come under attack by Israel and stewards of Holocaust memory.

  • December 16, 2017
    Wall of Memory in Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum
  • December 15, 2017
    Reflections on the recent conferences the USC Shoah Foundation hosted or participated in, and the ways in which these scholarly gatherings enrich the field of genocide studies and demonstrate the value of the Visual History Archive.
  • November 25, 2017

    The announcement of a deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh which will allow the repatriation of the Rohingya may sound like good news. Here is why it is not.

  • April 21, 2017

    At this time of remembrance, I hope I am incorrect in thinking that public awareness of the Shoah is eroding. Information about this act of atrocity is still proliferating, so unawareness clearly cannot be attributed to absent knowledge. There is, in fact, an incredible amount of knowledge … and a growing reluctance to understand it.

  • January 31, 2017
    At a first glance The Yellow Spot: The Extermination of the Jews in Germany is a book about the Holocaust. But in fact, it was published in 1936, after just three years of Nazi rule — and a full five years before the first gas chambers were commissioned for the murder of European Jewry. The authors spend 287 pages detailing a series of laws and actions taken against the Jews. Their conclusion was that the “legal disability” being imposed by the Nazis upon the Jews ultimately would result in their elimination. (Originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.)
  • November 23, 2016

    As fall meets winter, we find ourselves in the seasonal in-between – summer is gone and winter is not yet biting. Yet it is in the in-between that we find moments for appreciation with friends and family. We create these moments in the cycle of the seasons. I think about what it means to live in the in-between – in a place of ambiguity and uncertainty where we must negotiate both the successes and the struggles of daily life. Progress propels us forward, but sometimes it is a roller coaster rather than the smooth gradient we may wish for.

  • November 8, 2016
    The archive was taken in 56 countries, 21 of which were in Central and South American. Ana is just one of the 1,352 who chose Spanish as their language of choice, while another 560 chose to speak Portuguese.
  • November 8, 2016
  • July 12, 2016
    I see two pictures of America. One that is open, free, respectful, fun-loving. The other which is divisive, fearful, angry, and violent. These two Americas have much that sets them apart, but they share missing elements, because neither America is integrated, fair, multicultural, embracing, or color-blind. Not in practice anyhow.
  • May 27, 2016
    The young Nazi approached 13-year-old Szulem Czygielmamn as he walked on the sidewalk of Lubartowska Street in Lublin, Poland, and shoved him off the sidewalk. Szulem was lucky; Jews had died for less.

Pages

Subscribe to SFI Blog Posts

Posts are contributed by individual authors. The opinions are solely the authors’ and are not necessarily a reflection of the views of USC Shoah Foundation.

About Stephen Smith

Fri, 11/08/2013 - 2:43pm -- webmaster

Stephen D Smith is the Andrew J. and Erna Finci Viterbi Executive Director Chair of the USC Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles, whose Visual History Archive holds 53,000 testimonies of eyewitnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides. He also holds the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education and is an Adjunct Professor of Religion. He founded the UK Holocaust Centre, The Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. He was Project Director of the Kigali Genocide Centre, Rwanda. Smith, who trained as a Christian theologian, is an author, educator and researcher interested in memory of the Holocaust, and the causes and consequences of human conflict.