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January 25, 2015 9:30 pm

Hollywood Heavyweights to Join Spielberg at Auschwitz Commemoration Ceremony in Poland

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Hollywood executives joined Steven Spielberg on a trip to Poland for a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz concentration camp liberation. Photo: Wikipedia.

A number of Hollywood executives joined director Steven Spielberg on a trip to Poland this weekend for a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz concentration camp liberation, industry publication Variety reported.

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav and other big names in Hollywood worked with Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation, the Polish government, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum to bring a group of 100 Auschwitz survivors and their families to Poland for the ceremony on Jan. 27, which is marked as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The delegation also includes 25 teachers from around the world who will participate in a four-day seminar on how to teach students about the influence of genocide and hate on world history, according to Variety.

Zaslav is chair of the Auschwitz: The Past Is Present Committee. He led the leadership team made up of Spielberg, Len Blavatnik, Haim Saban, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, investor Joel Citron, attorney Stephen A. Cozen, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and tech mogul Yuri Milner. Executives from the media and entertainment industries also participated including Barry Diller, Ari Emanuel, David Geffen, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Meyer, Leslie Moonves, Eric Schmidt, Diane Von Furstenberg, Rob Wiesenthal and Jeff Zucker.

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“When I was a kid I learned in temple the mantra of ‘Never again.’ But there has been genocide since the Holocaust,” Zaslav said. “There is persecution because of religion and ethnicity. This is a moment to realize that we as a global society have to stand together.”

Zaslav’s family roots are in Warsaw. His grandparents and other family members managed to flee their homeland before the Nazi extermination campaign began in the early 1940s. Zaslav said the need to commemorate the horrors Jews faced at Auschwitz is underlined by the recent Charlie Hedbo killings in Paris and other hate crimes taking place around the world.

“It’s a solemn moment to reflect and recognize that we have come a long way in dealing with hate and genocide, but we have a long way to go,” he told Variety. “It’s important to recognize what happened there. Auschwitz is the best example of what can happen when religious, racial and ethnic hatred is unbridled.”

Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, who lost extended family members at the death camp, also stressed the importance of the trip.

“We have to show the world that we won’t forget,” Weinstein told Variety. “We have to look at the atrocities at Auschwitz. We want people to rise up and feel indignant. You have to step up for what you believe in. In this modern world, we have no choice.”

Spielberg and Zaslav led a fundraising effort to cover the costs of the trip to Poland. The ceremony is expected to be the last time a large group of Auschwitz survivors will be able to make the trip to the site because of their advanced ages, according to Variety.

Discovery outlets around the world will air the documentary One Day in Auschwitz on Sunday in connection with the ceremony and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Produced by the Shoah Foundation, the documentary chronicles the experience of 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon on her recent trip to the site, which is now a museum and historic landmark. Discovery channels in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Africa will also air a commercial-free telecast of Spielberg’s 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List.

The cable giant will have several film crews on hand at the ceremony on Tuesday to document the experiences of the survivors at the ceremony. The footage will be used as part of a “virtual field trip” developed for online platforms in connection with Discovery Education’s teaching curriculum related to Auschwitz.

Following Tuesday’s ceremony, a 15-minute documentary on the history of Auschwitz will be permanently installed at the museum. The documentary was produced by Spielberg and narrated by actress Meryl Streep. There are also plans for a permanent installation of testimonies of Holocaust survivors that have been collected by the Shoah Foundation over the past 20 years, Variety noted.

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  • What a great idea we need more of that.

  • The BBC, one of the ‘usual suspects’ when it comes to anti-Jewish bias, surprised many with its range of good programing during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day. As P M Begin said during a BBC interview back in the 1970’s, ‘The BBC is better dealing with dead Jews than live ones.’ Looking back at the debate over having a Holocaust Remembrance Day in the UK, the strongest argument was that we must remember what can happen even in the heart of advanced Western civilisation.

  • Auschwitz represents the turning point in world Jewish history ending close to 2000 years of Jewish history in Europe, and the beginning of renewed Jewish life in Israel and the rest of the world. The millions of Jews who were herded to their untimely deaths, were abandoned by the likes of a Spielberg and others who dared not to defy the anti semitism of the Democratic Party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    Mr. Spielberg and others in the fantasy land of Hollywood, have placed the most anti semitic President on a pedestal so that this President can once again create another Auschwitz for the Jews who live in Israel and who are still left in Europe. The support for Mr. Obama by Mr. Spielberg, is the same as saying my best friend is Adolf Hitler. Some Jews never quite get the picture that there are those in the world that seek our destruction. Mr. Obama has clearly shown what side he is on within that process, I wonder what side Mr. Spielberg is on when it concerns the Jewish People.?

  • Gabor Eichler

    If all these moguls would focus their effort and global visibily on defending the lives of Jews living under exstential threat vtoday from Paris to Jerusalem, perhaps there will be no more Holocausts. But since all of them support an Administration that is giving a nod to the source of the next Holocaust:Iran- with their presence in Auschwitz they are desecrating the final resting place of millions of fellow Jews. Sad!

  • victoria brandeis

    MR. SPIELBERG YOU ARE THE WORST ‘JEW’,

    YOU TELL LIES…HALF TRUTHS AND YOU WERE THE JOINING FORCES TO ELECT THE WORST INDIVIDUAL IN HISTORY TO RUN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR THIS TERM…..SHAME ON YOU….

    MONEY IS YOUR GOAL……GENTILE WIVES BETTER THAN JEWISH ONES AND SO ON AND SO ON……

    DON’T IMPRESS ME WITH THIS…..MR. SPIELBERG……OPEN THE DOOR TO POLLARD AND LET HIM FREE…..IF YOU HAVE ANY STRINGS TO PULL PULL THEM……..BUT, THEN , YOU HAVE NO STRINGS…..A BANK ACCOUNT YES….ALL CREATED BY EVIL……

    ‘HOME’,,,,,,,,A PILE OF JELLY BEANS AND SMARTIES……LEAD THE WAY…..

    AND FOR ALL THE WEINSTEINS WHO CLAIM TO BE ””’ ””’….MY HEART BREAKS…..BUT NOT FOR YOU….FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT HERE……FOR THOSE BETTER INDIVIDUALS WHO SHARE.

    SO CRY ME A RIVER WHEN LOST SOULS RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND NEVER ONCE UNDERSTAND THE HOME THEY HAVE CREATED…’SODOM AND GEMORAH’…….HOLLYWOOD SOUTH.

    • R.Kushner

      Unlike you, I am a Jew who applauds Spielberg for the good he does. If you want to criticize someone, try your President. Where was he in Paris and his excuse for not going to Auschwitz is his trip to India. Thank God I was smart enough not to vote for him each time he ran.

      Your letter was CRUEL !!!

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Will Spielberg bring “Munich”‘s Jew hating Jewish screenwriter Tony Kushner with him to blame it on the Jews?

  • Peter Rossler

    I am a Prague-born 84 year-old Holocaust Survivor of Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz and several Labour Camps,now living in Sydney, Australia. I was interviewed for the USC Spielberg Shoah Foundation and am a volunteer guide and speaker at the Sydney Jewish Museum. I commend the Spielberg Foundation for the many activities arranged on the Auschwitz Commemoration Ceremony. I am looking forward to viewing the film “One Day in Auschwitz”. Peter Rossler

  • My father Jacob Rosenberg, of blessed memory was in Auschwitz. Contrary to what we are told, the passage of time does not ease our pain, nor does it diminish the scope of the horror that was the Holocaust. Oh yes, there are those, few in number, who feel that it is psychologically healthier to avoid reminders that keep painful and unpleasant events alive. Why subject our young to the brutal story of Nazi bestiality toward the Jewish people? What purpose will it serve? It would be wiser not to talk about it so that it can disappear. Never! We must never stop telling this story. Tell it we must, in every gory detail! We must do this because it is our sacred duty to alert them to the evils of men, so that they will never be lulled into a false sense of safety and security. We must alert them so that our children will be vigilant and will never be caught unaware as were the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Although we are cognizant that our children will be adversely affected, that they will feel great pain upon learning the true facts of the Holocaust, we know that this is something we must do. I urgently beg of you, my fellow children of Holocaust survivors, keep alive the memory of the courage and will to live possessed by your parents. Time is growing short. Soon, like my parents of blessed memory, they will have left this world. Speak with them now. Learn all you can about their Holocaust experiences and about your grandparents and great-grandparents. Communicate with them before it is too late! This is our mission. This we must vow to do. Join me, my fellow Holocaust brothers and sisters, in this holy mission. Let us join hands and loudly acclaim, “We will keep the memory of the Holocaust alive”. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg 2g.

  • Stella schindler

    Never again. As long as we have the state of Israel. Am yisroel chai.

  • Nina

    Excuse me if I am out of the theme but we have in France an american jew Ben Katchor, in the festival of cartoon in Angoulême who just signed a petition against Israel.

    They are very happy here. A jew against jews, they love it. After “charlie”. No decency.

    Take a look of the new cartoons :

    http://jssnews.com/2015/01/25/ils-ne-sont-plus-charlie-80-dessinateurs-antisemites-au-festival-dangouleme/

  • DocReality

    I hope everyone reading this realizes the pathetic irony of having Spielberg visit Auschwitz. He just gave the Ambassadors for Humanity Award to Barack Obama last year. That’s right. The Shoah Visual History Archive honored a man who is hell-bent on the destruction of Israel and has all the makings of an anti-Semite. Spielberg is living in his own movie-fantasy world.

    • JP

      Yes because I’m certain you know more about the truth as it pertains to Mr. Spielberg and the President, then Mr. Spielberg does. It is amazing the inflated ideas people have of their own supposed ‘inside knowledge’ gained by reading trashy publications and vicious agenda-clad newspapers.

  • Ada

    Why are non-Jews not included in this visit and ceremony? These days events, not only in Europe, but also in Africa and in the Arab world as well, must be a red light for peoples all over the world. This is not only about Jews. People must see there begins with Jews and goes for everyone who is “different”.

  • PGB

    This is so important and Thank all who make this happen.

  • judithg

    the documentary is very powerful and beautifully handled. it honors the lives of the murdered to have a film made with such honesty. it is almost unbearable to watch and one feels a sacred duty to be a witness.

  • steven L

    Is Hollywood trying to convince Islamists Shia and Sunnis that the holocaust was real? They don’t care.

  • Why is he going there. I asked him to Israel and he said, NO.

  • I suppose the Hollywood heavyweights don’t dwell on the similarities between “anti-Zionism” and anti-Semitism, being quite assimilated to populism as a form of liberalism. See http://clarespark.com/2015/01/15/antisemitism-vs-anti-zionism-is-there-a-difference/. Let us not forget that Spielberg directed both SCHINDLER’S LIST and MUNICH.

  • A very kind and gracious mission to bring so many survivors to this remembrance.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Much as I agree with the following statement I am disturbed that only part of the story of cause is being told “Auschwitz is the best example of what can happen when religious, racial and ethnic hatred is unbridled.”

    It is not enough to prevent a recurrence. What made the religious, racial and ethnic hatred so volatile was that European society was so dangerously economically divided between the inherited and possessed on the one hand, and the disinherited and dispossessed on the other

    This too is the situation in modern Europe. The Greek election result demonstrates that those repressed by the largely German authored “Austerity” programs have had enough. They have abandoned the lie that these are only temporary measures. Only part of the “Jewish Scapegoat” lie is ever told. National Socialist leadership substituted the “Responsibility of the Jews” for society’s ills for the “Guilt of the Ruling Class”. National Socialism was offered as a substitute for radical social change – The Jews, the Gypsies the handicapped and homosexuals were the offering required to support these lies – they were a substitute target for the fury of the desperate.

    Therein lies the key to the present demonisation of minorities, particularly Muslims and Jews, in Europe. Islamophobia and antisemitism are aspects of the same perceived need – that of creating a new Scapegoat for present European ills

    What concerns me is that I am seeing what I perceive as the same treachery and the same errors that occurred in the past. The extreme Right is seeking Jewish patronage and support and many Zionists are falling for it.

    Auschwitz is about many things when we speak in terms of this article – and maybe we shouldn’t. In part it is about resisting essential social and economic change. It is about the consequences of bottling up reasonable desperation and fury and not allowing the majority in a democracy to bring about radical change through democratic means

    Don’t make that terrible mistake again. We all have to accept that 2!st Century society has to be radically restructured if we are to create and preserve a functioning and secure representative democracy

    And the alternatives to that are unspeakable, and perhaps best remembered in respectful silence. Never again is not enough. We must make the political social, economic and administrative changes that relegate inter-national war, civil war and Genocide to our disgraceful human past

  • Delilah

    Being a first-generation American Jew with all my family involved in the Holocaust in some way or another because they were all German Jews I wish I would’ve known about this scholarship I had hoped to go because this is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but have not been able to because I had family, businesses but since I lost my husband at the age of 42 The money is very tight why was not the Jewish community in all the big cities mine being Atlanta not involved in this?

    • thana

      pl contact the right person and there is so much
      allocated for you all .. there are organisations to help you….

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