My name is Cherrie Daniels and I represent the United States as the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues. I am also the United States’ Head of Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
On his very first day in office, which happened to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that he carries the memory of his stepfather, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor, and his family, and the 6 million Jewish people and millions of others, including non-Jewish Poles, who were killed during the Holocaust. He said, “A nation’s power isn’t measured only by the size of its military or economy, but by the moral choices it makes.”
He also said, “We will remember that atrocities like the Holocaust don’t just happen. They are allowed to happen. It’s up to us to stop them.”
In my role as the Special Envoy, I work to ensure that the Holocaust is remembered and commemorated appropriately.
Today we remember and mark this somber day, 75 years after the 1946 Pogrom in Kielce. The Kielce pogrom took place one year after World War II ended. Hatred and xenophobia can occur anywhere and at any time, as it still does around the world today. We must do everything in our power to improve understanding, promote inclusion and tolerance, and ensure that hatred and xenophobia do not have a place in our modern societies.
Next week, I will have the opportunity to attend a ceremony in Warsaw to honor newly recognized Poles for their heroic acts to rescue Jews from Nazi death camps. We must use their noble example to address the challenges of today, wherever they may be found. Even in the darkest times there are those who stand up to hate and exhibit the best of human decency, at great risk to their own lives.
Today we pay our respects to the memory of the Jews murdered here. We pay our respects to the families who lost loved ones. And we pay our respects to the inhabitants of Kielce who commemorate this horrible massacre each year.
By reflecting on the anti-Semitic crime committed here, we can remain steadfast in our commitment to future generations that this kind of atrocity will never again occur.
Today, along with our Polish friends, we represent different faiths and different nationalities: we remember together.
Poland is not alone in its work to root out anti-Semitism. America has had its own fair share of challenges and we recognize that we must do more. We must continue to be ever vigilant against the ugly face of hatred. As President Biden has said: “We must pass the history of the Holocaust and of those who suffered under Nazi persecution on to our grandchildren and their grandchildren in order to keep real the promise of “never again.”
As anti-Semitism rises around the world, including in the United States, all of us are called upon to take a stand and act on behalf of anyone who is persecuted – regardless of religion and without bias. And to remember those victims who paid with their lives.
I am humbled to join you to commemorate the memory of those who lost their lives in the Kielce pogrom.
I hope we can work together to continue to mark these occasions and ensure that the memory of those lost is never forgotten.