Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


White House Forgets To Mention The Jews In Their Holocaust Remembrance Day Statement

White House lawn. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. If you break that statement down word for word, what it means is that today is a day when people around the world remember the Holocaust. This is not a complicated idea....or is it?

January 27, the date of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a concentration camp where approximately 960,000 Jews were killed (of the 1,100,00 total killed at the camp). Jews were, of course, not the only people killed at Auschwitz, but they were murdered in very large numbers there. Surprisingly, Auschwitz was not only the place where Jews were killed in vast numbers during the Holocaust, though it was the largest of its kind.

But what was the Holocaust? According to no less a reliable source than the United States Holocaust Museum (who, presumably, would know a thing or two about the Holocaust!), the Holocaust was "the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators."

To wit, on January 27, 2017, the White House issued a statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day that neglected to include any mention of Jews or anti-semitism. Yes, you read that right. In total, the statement issued by the White House included 117 words, none of which were "Jew," "anti-semitism," or "Judaism." Trust us, we even ran a keyword search, just in case we were somehow misreading (it's been a long week, after all!). Here is proof:

Support for LAist comes from

Zero results!
Issuing a statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day that does not include any reference to the Jews is an extremely creative choice, especially since it would seem quite difficult to draft an International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement without even accidentally mentioning the Jews. In 1939, a writer named Ernest Vincent Wright published a 50,000 word novel that never once used the letter "e." Gadsby, Wright's novel, is considered to be a paragon of "constrained writing." This is the closest literary equivalent we can think of to the White House's International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.

It is also possible that not mentioning the Jews in their International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement was not an intentional choice, and the White House merely forgot. This seems unlikely, because even if the White House communications team was really phoning it in and just checking Wikipedia for material, Jews still make it into the very first sentence of the Wikipedia entry for The Holocaust.

However, we would be remiss if we did not mention that the White House plans for commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day were not limited to a statement. They also took a number of actions to commemorate the day!

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that not only suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for three months, but also severely limited the number of refugees who will be able to enter this country. But that was not all! Dayenu!, you might be thinking—a statement and an anti-asylum seeker executive order are more than enough to commemorate any one holiday! You would be wrong.

On January 27, the date of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, President Donald Trumpalso gave an interview where he said that priority will be given to Christian refugees seeking to enter the United States. Yes, you're still reading that right! Priority will be given to Christian refugees seeking to enter the United States of America in the year 2017. Happy International Holocaust Remembrance Day, everyone!