The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is disgusted by demonstrators near a Dallas synagogue this past Saturday who spewed hatred through displaying antisemitic images of Jews and brandishing a Nazi swastika flag. The brazen use of this most recognizable symbol of Nazi rule is dangerous because it proliferates hatred and is also profoundly hurtful for Holocaust survivors and their family members, who know firsthand the terror this symbol is intended to invoke.
As we said in a recent statement, antisemitism is surging worldwide. Sadly, it is being spread by groups across the political spectrum through historic tropes and images, and symbols such as the swastika. While all messages of antisemitism are dangerous and hurtful, the use of the swastika during the Holocaust makes it a particularly detestable manifestation of the current epidemic rise in antisemitism.
A sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, the word swastika comes from the ancient Sanskrit meaning “good fortune” or “well-being.” The Teutonic Knights, a medieval Germanic military and religious order, also used the symbol. Unfortunately, the swastika was adopted and co-opted by the Nazi party in the 1920s, and re-badged as a sign of Aryan racial pride. It evoked fear in their victims and became a symbol of mass murder and oppression. It remains the most notorious, and revolting, symbol of antisemitism and blind hatred.
Please join us in renouncing antisemitism and speaking out whenever a swastika or other symbols of hatred are used. We cannot stand by and let these hateful symbols become further normalized. To learn more about the history of antisemitism and resources to combat it, please explore our Tool Kit for Confronting Antisemitism.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is proud of its mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Our work has never been more important than it is today. To learn more, visit www.dhhrm.org.
– Mary Pat Higgins, President and CEO
– Lee Michaels, Board Chair