The Holocaust Memorial Center is based in Farmington Hills
The Holocaust Memorial Center is based in Farmington Hills.

In a statement, the center called to “extinguish flames” of hatred.

The Holocaust Memorial Center, based in Farmington Hills, released a statement urging the community to heed the lessons of the Holocaust and speak up when faced with injustice. 

The center released the statement in response to protests that occurred across the country last week calling for an end to white supremacy and police brutality after a Minneapolis police officer killed resident George Floyd on May 25 

Every day at HMC we teach the lessons of the Holocaust — that hate has terrible and long-lasting consequences. That it is not enough to stand by and do nothing. That every individual, family, and community can make a difference in our world. As Elie Wiesel famously said, ‘I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation,’” the statement reads.   

The HMC called on people to “extinguish [the] flames” of hatred.  

How many photographs have we seen of bystanders watching passively as books were destroyed and synagogues burned during Kristallnacht?” it reads. “If only people had stood up for their Jewish neighbors, protested the Nuremberg laws, refused to buy newspapers filled with hate-spewing propaganda! Why didn’t more people do something?” 

HMC wrote that they hope people will stand up themselves, and not wait for others to do it for them.    

We cannot rewrite history. But have we learned the lessons of history? What will each of us do now, today, to ensure the safety of others? The safety of the Other?” it says. “It is not someone else’s job to make it better. What will I do today? What will you?” 

In response to the Jewish News request for an interview, HMC provided another unsigned statement, sent through public relations firm Marx Layne and Company.   

At the Holocaust Memorial Center, we engage, educate and empower people of all backgrounds by teaching about the senseless murder of millions during the Holocaust,” the second statement reads. “Our message is that each of us must respect and stand up for the rights of others if we are to prevent future genocides and hate crimes. We empower individuals to react to contemporary issues like the killing of George Floyd and the events of the past weeks by taking action. We all can be upstanders, not bystanders, when we see hatred and prejudice in our own communities. 

Read the HMC’s full original statement below:

Every day at HMC we teach the lessons of the Holocaust—that hate has terrible and long-lasting consequences. That it is not enough to stand by and do nothing. That every individual, family, and community can make a difference in our world. As Elie Wiesel famously said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”

The history of racism in our country infects every aspect of American life. As teachers of the Holocaust we understand that feelings lead to words, which lead to actions, which all too often lead to violence and death. We have the power to fan the flames of hatred; but we also have the power to extinguish those flames.

How many photographs have we seen of bystanders watching passively as books were destroyed and synagogues burned during Kristallnacht? If only people had stood up for their Jewish neighbors, protested the Nuremberg laws, refused to buy newspapers filled with hate-spewing propaganda! Why didn’t more people do something?

We cannot rewrite history. But have we learned the lessons of history? What will each of us do now, today, to ensure the safety of others? The safety of the Other?

It is not someone else’s job to make it better. What will I do today? What will you?

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