Steven Speilberg
Steven SpeilbergReuters

Acclaimed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg spoke out on the Hamas massacre of October 7 for the first time last week.

In an address published by the USC Shoah Foundation last Friday, Spielberg said that he "never imagined I would see such unspeakable barbarity against Jews in my lifetime."

Spielberg, who is Jewish, founded the Shoah Foundation in 1994 to gather and preserve testimony from survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust. The Foundation has begun gathering testimony from survivors of the October 7 massacre under its Countering Antisemitism Through Testimony Collection program, which documents antisemitism in the post-Holocaust era.

According to Spielberg, this initiative is part of “an effort that will ensure that the voices of survivors will act as a powerful tool to counter the dangerous rise of antisemitism and hate.”

“Both initiatives — recording interviews with survivors of the October 7 attacks and the ongoing collection of Holocaust testimony — seek to fulfill our promise to survivors: that their stories would be recorded and shared in the effort to preserve history and to work toward a world without antisemitism or hate of any kind,” he said.

“We must remain united and steadfast in these efforts,” he said.

Spielberg, widely regarded as one of the greatest film directors of all time thanks to films such as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and the Holocaust film Schindler's List, had been criticized for his silence in the weeks following October 7.

Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation-USA President David Schaecter published an open letter several weeks ago calling on Spielberg to speak out following the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

"I, along with countless other survivors, are so heartbroken that, since October 7, 2023, you have not spoken out and publicly taken a stand against terrorism, against Hamas, and the millions who celebrate the shedding of Jewish blood – and want more. With all my heart, I urge you to speak out for the children, women, and men kidnapped and held hostage, and in support of Israel and Israel’s right to defend herself,” Schaecter said.

In May, Spielberg told The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert that he found the rise of antisemitism in recent tears "very surprising."

"Antisemitism has always been there, it’s either been just around the corner or slightly out of sight but always lurking, or it has been much more overt, like in Germany in the ’30s,” Spielberg said.