27 January 2019   Leave a comment

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, one of the most notorious of the Nazi death camps. There are two important reasons to remember this event. The first is that knowledge of the Holocaust is in steady decline as each year passes. Time magazine provides some dispiriting information:

“A new study released in recent days by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the Azrieli Foundation found that 52 percent of millennials in Canada cannot name even one concentration camp or ghetto and 62 percent of millennials did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

“Its findings were similar to a similar study carried out a year before in the United States.

“In Britain, a new poll by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust found that one in 20 adults in Britain do not believe the Holocaust took place.

“The poll of more than 2,000 people released Sunday also found that nearly two-thirds of those polled either did not know how many Jews had been murdered or greatly underestimated the number killed during the Holocaust.”

If we forget that horror, we also forget that humans are capable of extraordinary atrocities, something that Armenians, Cambodians, Rwandans, and Bosnians know first-hand.

The second reason why it is important to remember the Holocaust is that the seeds of the Holocaust, anti-semitism, are sprouting all over the world. Anti-semitism, like racism, never goes away, but it can be encouraged and fostered by those who wish to use hate as a tool of political mobilization. UN Secretary-General António Guterres warns of the present dangers we now face, as reported by UN News:

“‘The old anti-Semitism is back – and getting worse,’ said the UN chief, warning that Nazi symbols and slogans remain widespread, as anti-hate organizations track hundreds of neo-Nazi, pro-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

“’And as we know all too well, where there is hatred of Jews, hatred of others is also near at hand,’ he said, noting that indeed, the world was witnessing a disturbing increase in other forms of bigotry: attacks on Muslims were on the rise; intolerance was spreading at lightning speed across the Internet and social media; and hate groups were using social media to link up with like-minded bigots across borders.

“’Hate is moving into the mainstream – as major political parties incorporating ideas from the fringes and parties once rightly considered pariahs are gaining influence,’ he said, adding: ‘We should not exaggerate the comparisons to the 1930s, but equally we should not ignore the similarities.’”

Liberation of Auschwitz, 1945

Liberation by Soviet soldiers surviving prisoners of Auschwitz (Auschwitz). Above the gate of the camp is the famous sign-slogan “Arbeit macht frei» (Arbeit macht frei), which means – “Work makes you free”. Concentration released January 27, 1945 part of the 100th Infantry Division of General Fyodor Krasavina. 1st Ukrainian Front.

The US Treasury Department has released a press report on lifting sanctions on various Russian entities. It reads:

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today lifted sanctions imposed on En+ Group plc (“En+”), UC Rusal plc (“Rusal”), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (“ESE”), following an earlier notification submitted to Congress on December 19, 2018.

Under the terms of their removal from OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”), En+, Rusal, and ESE have reduced Oleg Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake in these companies and severed his control.  This action ensures that the majority of directors on the En+ and Rusal boards will be independent directors – including U.S. and European persons – who have no business, professional, or family ties to Deripaska or any other SDN, and that independent U.S. persons vote a significant bloc of the shares of En+.

The companies have also agreed to unprecedented transparency for Treasury into their operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements.  All sanctions on Deripaska continue in force.

The move truly defies explanation. Deripaska has been implicated in the investigation into Russian interference in the US 2016 presidential election–he was an associate of Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post have run articles on how lightly Deripaska has been treated and that the sanctions against him have had little effect. The Treasury Department argues that Deripaska’s ties to the sanctioned companies had been severed, but the evidence of that is both slim and hard to substantiate. There is something quite fishy going on here.

Posted January 27, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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