Holocaust Deniers Gaining a Foothold in our Democracy

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 12:18pm

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.

It is essential that Holocaust deniers and antisemites are not successful in our democracy. This calls for greater public awareness of the dangers these views pose and the full implementation of Holocaust education across California. Our next generation of voters need levels of historical and political literacy that understand the need to reject such ideas as being a part of the political mainstream.

The normalizing of Nazi Philosophy and Holocaust denialism is a terrifying development for this country. It needs to be denounced by all decent people – elected officials included – right now. Even Ted Cruz, a staunch Republican from Texas has urged voters to vote for a Democrat before voting for a denier. Holocaust survivors who gave their testimony to USC Shoah Foundation can tell what happens when we don’t treat these situations with the seriousness they deserve.

Stephen Smith
Stephen D. Smith served for twelve years as executive director of USC Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles, whose Visual History Archive holds 53,000 testimonies of eyewitnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides. He 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.