VP Pence: World must stand against Holocaust-denying Iran

US Vice President at Yad Vashem: Today we remember what happens when the powerless cry for help and the powerful refuse to answer.

Gary Willig ,

VP Pence at 5th World Holocaust Forum
VP Pence at 5th World Holocaust Forum
Yad Vashem

US Vice President Mike Pence addressed the central event of the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem Thursday afternoon.

"It is deeply humbling for me to stand before you today on behalf of the American people as we mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz" Pence told the delegates and world leaders at the start of his address.

"On this occasion, here on Mount Herzl, we gather to fulfill a solemn obligation, an obligation of remembrance, to never allow the memory of those who died in the Holocaust to be forgotten by anyone, anywhere in the world.

"The word 'remember' appears no fewer than 169 times in the Hebrew Bible, for memory is the constant obligation of all generations. Today, we pause to remember what President Donald Trump rightly called 'the dark stain on human history,' the greatest evil ever perpetuated by man against man in the long catalog of human crime.

"The faces of a million and a half children reduced to smoke under a silent sky for the crime of having a single Jewish grandparent. The night Elie Wiesel called 'seven times sealed' consumed the faith of so many then, and challenges the faith of so many still.

"Today we remember what happens when the powerless cry for help, and the powerful refused to answer. The town's name was Oświęcim. As part of their plan to destroy the very existence of Polish culture, the Nazis gave Polish towns German names. This one they called Auschwitz.

"When soldiers opened the gates of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, they found 7,000 half-starved, half-naked prisoners, hundreds of boxes of camp records that documented the greatest mass murder in history.

"Before the war was over, in its five years in existence, more than 1.1 men, women, and children, would perish at Auschwitz..

"As my wife and I can attest firsthand from this past year, one cannot walk the grounds of Auschwitz without being overcome with emotion and grief. One cannot see the piles of shoes, the gas chambers, the crematorium,s the lone boxcar facing the gate to the camp an those grainy photographs of men, women, and children being sent to their deaths without saying, 'how could they?'

"Today we mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve. We remember the names and the faces and the promise of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Today, we also pay tribute to those who survived, who all these years have borne witness to that evil and have served mankind by their example.

"Today, we honor and remember the memory of all the Allied forces, including more than two million American soldiers, who left hearth and home, suffered appalling casualties, and freed a continent from the grip of tyranny.

"And finally we pay tribute to the memory of those non-Jewish heroes who saved countless lives, those the people of Israel call 'the righteous among the nations. In an age of indifference, they acted. In an age of fear, they showed courage. And their memory and their example should kindle anew the flame of our hearts to do the same in our time. We must be prepared to stand as they did against the wave of their times. We must be prepared to confront expose the vile tide of anti-Semitism that is fueling hate and violence all across the world, and we must stand together.

"In that same spirit, we must also stand strong against the leading state purveyor of anti-Semitism, against the one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Towards the end of his speech, the Vice President recited a Hebrew prayer for peace. "Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu v'al kol yisrael vayimru amen. May he who creates peace in the heavens, may he create peace for us and for all of Israel, amen."