Tags: MidPoint | Steven Luckert | Holocaust | Auschwitz | 70th anniversary

Holocaust Museum Curator: Denial Still a 'Danger'

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 04:55 PM

Seventy years after Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Holocaust denialism lingers on, with the Internet and social media acting as amplifiers of a conspiracy theory that rejects the awful truth, says the permanent exhibition curator at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

"That's a danger that we see today," Steven Luckert told "MidPoint" Host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday, describing "small groups of people who deny the Holocaust in the face of enormous evidence," using the Web to peddle a discredited but persistent argument.

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"What always has shocked me about Holocaust denial is that the survivors said it happened, the Allies said it happened, and the perpetrators said it happened," said Luckert. "You have this huge body of evidence, of testimonies, of documents, and yet you have small groups of people who charge that it never happened.

"That's a danger because they're using social media — the Internet — to get those ideas across," he said.

An ever-dwindling number of survivors are marking this week's 70th anniversary of liberation with sojourns to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in southern Poland.

Viral conspiracies that their suffering was fabricated underscore the need for institutions such as the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem — Israel's own Holocaust memorial — and the camps themselves, including Auschwitz, where millions of Jews were imprisoned and murdered by the Nazis, said Luckert.

"It's so important that these sites be maintained," he said. "And this is a challenge because you're fighting against the elements. … Many of these sites are outside. The barracks are made of wood. They weren't meant to last for decades, and they have to."

At the State Museum at Auschwitz and at Majdanek — also in Poland — and at the Buchenwald and Dachau camps inside of Germany, historians, archeologists and others have labored to preserve artifacts and conduct surveys for new evidence, said Luckert.

One of the camps' key functions today is to counter misinformation "and spread the truth about the Holocaust and what transpired more than 70 years ago," he said.

Teaching and educational programs on the Holocaust also have been deployed in multiple languages to regions as varied as Asia and the Middle East, he said.

Luckert said the permanent exhibition at his workplace carries much of the D.C. museum's historical, educational and emotional load. He cited one display of more than 4,000 shoes that belonged to inmates at Majdanek.

"They were just a small sample of the hundreds and thousands of shoes that were found at Majdanek after liberation," he said. "But they make such an important impression on visitors who come to the museum, because you see shoes of men, women and children and it gives people a sense of the enormity of these Nazi crimes and also, who they targeted."

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Seventy years after Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Holocaust denialism lingers on, with the Internet and social media acting as amplifiers of a conspiracy theory that rejects the awful truth, says the curator at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Steven Luckert, Holocaust, Auschwitz, 70th anniversary
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2015-55-27
Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 04:55 PM
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