World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder warned Sunday at the ceremony marking 70 years since the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany that history is in danger of repeating itself.
“Seventy years ago, the world was silent and now we are standing on one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world,” Lauder said. “We appear to be descending into the same hell today. Anti-Semitism is rising in Europe, neo-Nazi groups are sitting in Parliament in Hungary and Greece, and Iranian leaders repeatedly promise to wipe Israel from the pages of time. To shout against the past while remaining silent about the present is not just wrong; it is outrageous and immoral.”
Although Belsen was not officially an extermination camp, one hundred thousand Jews, Poles, Russians, Gypsies and other victims perished there including Jewish teenager diarist Anne Frank. The camp was liberated by British soldiers in April 1945. A Displaced Persons camp was later established nearby. It was closed in September 1950. An estimated 2,000 children were born to Holocaust survivors at the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.
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