July 25, 2022
Rhode Island’s Jewish communal agencies, including the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, Jewish Collaborative Services, and the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island are dismayed by the increasingly frequent Holocaust comparisons being made in local public discourse, as well as on social media, including a recent incident by a restaurant in Tiverton, Rhode Island that used the image of Anne Frank to depict the current heatwave.
We appreciate the recent apology made by the restaurant owners and welcome the opportunity to speak with them and their staff to further educate them on the dangers of language like this.
Wendy Joering, Executive Director of the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center noted that “According to the ADL’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, 2021 represents the highest number of antisemitic incidents on record since they began tracking this information.”
Invoking Nazi imagery and rhetoric to express anything other than the systematic genocide of an entire people trivializes the brutal murders of the six million Jews and five million other human beings. It harms the Jewish community and all victims by dishonoring the memories of those who were killed.
From 1933-1945, the Nazis targeted Jews and other minority groups through persecution, violence, and ultimately death. Anne Frank was a young Dutch victim who died in a Nazi concentration camp and is well known for her famous journal. The Holocaust should be remembered with sensitivity and studied with precision in order to understand the lessons of this history accurately; it should not be exploited for any purposes.
The Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center is the state leader in providing Holocaust and Genocide education across Rhode Island, and the Jewish Alliance is proud to serve as a resource in antisemitism prevention.
Confidential reports of antisemitic incidents can be made here.