International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2022

Dear all,

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that honors the victims of the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of approximately one third of Jews worldwide and many other targeted groups during World War II. As antisemitism continues to increase in the US and around the globe, however, we cannot truly honor those victims without standing up to the hate in our midst today.

The issue is hitting home for college students: according to a recent survey of US college students, one in three personally experienced antisemitism directed at them in the last academic year. The national survey also found that most students who experienced antisemitism on campus did not report it, suggesting the frequency of incidents on campuses is even greater. And, we also know that when acts of antisemitism occur off campus, such as the terrifying hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX, our students are affected.

Yet we have experienced hopeful moments as well. Recently, the United Nations adopted a resolution by consensus against Holocaust denial, and across the country, acts of antisemitism sparked acts of solidarity and sympathy in response. In Austin, Texas, after a series of antisemitic incidents, the community—joined by the mayor, state senators, a member of Congress and others—rallied at the Texas State Capitol to promote acts of love and kindness in the face of hate. At George Washington University, after the destruction of a small replica Torah scroll, nearly 400 students and faculty gathered for a rally to voice their outrage.

As we go through our day today, let us remember the millions who perished in the Holocaust, and also, let us think about how we can continue to honor them with our own actions. For those who are interested, the College will offer following antisemitism workshops with the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) this spring (March 28–29, 4 p.m.–9 p.m.). These antisemitism workshops are in conversation with an earlier set of NCBI workshops on Anti-Racism (February 28–March 1, 4 p.m.–9 p.m.) For more information, contact Dean Maragh-Taylor, Rabbi Mann, or Dean Speers.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604