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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=25536
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 29, 2018 01:31 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel and Rep. Aaron Bernstine, Rep. Robert Freeman, Rep. Aaron D. Kaufer, Rep. Michael H. Schlossberg, Rep. Jared G. Solomon
To: All House members
Subject: Holocaust Remembrance 2018
 
In the very near future, we will introduce a resolution proclaiming the week of April 8-15, 2018, as "Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust" and Thursday, April 12, as “Holocaust Remembrance Day” in the Commonwealth. As in years past, it is our sincere hope you will join us in this important effort.

With the 43% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Pennsylvania last year, it is more important than ever to remember, teach and learn about the Holocaust. The Holocaust was one of the darkest chapters in human history. The word “Holocaust” is Greek in origin and means “sacrifice by fire.” To the Nazis, Jewish men, women and children were deemed “inferior” and a threat to society.

The Nazi’s suspension of basic civil rights happened within days of Hitler’s accession to power in January 1933. In all, during the first six years of Adolph Hitler's dictatorship in Germany, from 1933 until the outbreak of war in 1939, Jews felt the effects of more than 400 decrees and regulations that restricted all aspects of their public and private lives.

By the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939, there were six concentration camps under Nazi authority, with more on the way. In 1941, the first death camp opened in Poland. The atrocities of this time period cannot be downplayed. In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at more than nine million. By 1945, the Nazis and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of their "Final Solution.”

Nazis also targeted other minority groups deemed inferior including Soviet prisoners of war, gays and lesbians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, mentally and physically disabled individuals, Communists, and trade unionists. American POW’s who were perceived to be of Jewish faith, some from Pennsylvania’s 28th division, were also targeted, separated from their fellow POW’s and sent to Berga, a subsidiary of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, which was reported to have the highest American POW mortality rate in Europe.

As many as 1,000 Pennsylvanians have recorded their holocaust stories for posterity with the Shoah archives and Pennsylvanians were among those who rescued refugees before, during and after the war, liberated the Death Camps, ran the Nuremberg War Crime trials and created museums and memorials to this tragedy across the Commonwealth. Over 90% of our school districts now teach about the Holocaust.

Not surprisingly, the horrors of this time continue to have an impact on our lives and the world in which we live. As Americans, we must be fully on guard against any acts of perceived genocide, hate or discrimination. By continuing to call attention to the horrible atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II, we can hopefully fulfill the promise of “never again.”



Introduced as HR823