"The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words," said the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in a statement after Neo-Nazis gathered for a conference in Washington, D.C.
The Liberation Of Auschwitz, 1945. Photograph by Boris Ignatovich. pic.twitter.com/4f6wF1msxm— History In Pictures (@EpicHistoryPics) November 21, 2016
At the conference, Richard Spencer founder of white supremacist group, the National Policy Institute, among others, delivered speeches using Nazi phrases and propaganda. Many in the crowd used the Nazi salute, chanting "Heil victory," to celebrate Donald Trump's election as president of the United States.
USHMM apparently felt compelled to respond to the event, which took place only blocks away from the museum site in our nation's capital.
"[Spencer] implied that the media was protecting Jewish interests and said, 'One wonders if these people are people at all?' He said that America belongs to white people. His statement that white people face a choice of 'conquer or die' closely echoes Adolf Hitler’s view of Jews and that history is a racial struggle for survival."
USHMM made a plea to the American public to stand against white supremacist groups like NPI, which sponsored the event, and dangerous, racist language. This appeal could not be more timely as hate crimes increase and Trump's new government proposes ideas like a ban on Muslim immigrants and a registry for Muslims.
"The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech." We can only hope the American people will take this serious message to heart.
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