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Hannah Rosenthal


By Rhonda Spivak, April 17, 2012

Hannah Rosenthal, a member of Hillary Clinton’s State Department, is the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism worldwide.
She will be CISA’s first Shindleman Family Lecturer on Monday May 7, 2012, at 7:30pm in the Provencher Room at the Hotel Fort Garry.
Hannah Rosenthal believes the Holocaust is a matter of immediate and active concern for every ethical person, and of special importance for every Jew with a sense of history and conscience.
Today, Holocaust relativism, revisionism, and obfuscation surround us. Religious and political leaders, as well as neo-Nazi groups, often foster these phenomena. Hannah Rosenthal believes that refuting these distortions becomes ever more complicated as so few survivors are with us today.
History must be accurate, it must instruct, and it must serve as a warning, according to Rosenthal. She tells us that Holocaust denial is not just a matter of defending the truth, but a demand of conscience and an urgent necessity.
Speaking to an audience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in 2011, Hannah discussed the personal reasons that inform her passionate dedication to preserving the truth of the Holocaust, the memory of its victims and survivors, and to combating antisemitism:
“As a child, I was aware of the Holocaust, because it was a household word. It was in my DNA. My lens of understanding was through my father, Rabbi Franz Rosenthal. My father was the only family member to survive Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Other families had large gatherings filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. My family reunions could fit at one of [these dinner] tables with chairs left over.
At the museum’s archives, my daughter, Shira, was able to find the actual deportation orders for my family members. I now know that my grandparents Mitzie and Heinrich Rosenthal died on May 28, 1942. And now I can say Kaddish, appropriately on their yahrzeit.”
Personal history informs the good work of Ms. Rosenthal at every turn. When introducing Professor Deborah Lipstadt, who has written a new book on The Eichmann Trial, she recalled her own experience of watching coverage of the trial on television with her father as a ten-year-old girl:
“I can almost smell his cigar smoke,” she reminisced in the introduction.
Later, she stated, “I don’t appreciate dueling victimhood and dueling atrocities—it’s not helpful. But never before and never since the Holocaust have we seen a government use its creative and high-educated assets to build efficient killing factories.“
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.