Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed Monday that the U.S. Department of State would be providing the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial in Poland additional funding for Holocaust education.
“To honor Holocaust victims, to preserve the Auschwitz and Birkenau Memorial and Museum so future generations never forget, and to further efforts to combat contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, the Department of State, working with Congress, intends to contribute an additional $2 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation,” Pompeo wrote in a press release.
“This contribution is in addition to the $15 million the United States provided over a five-year period, which ended in 2018, to support the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation,” he continued. “This funding demonstrates our commitment to the Holocaust education remembrance, dialogue, and research.”
The announcement was made on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust whereby six million Jews and 11 million others were slaughtered during the second World War. Monday marks the anniversary of the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army. (RELATED: Holocaust Survivors Return To Auschwitz On 75th Anniversary Of Liberation)
The U.S. has been facing a historic rise in hate crimes against Jewish communities in recent years. There were nearly 1,900 recorded attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in 2018 alone, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The spike in anti-Semitic attacks made 2018 the third-highest year on record since the ADL began tracking hate crimes in the 1970s.
A study conducted in April 2018 found that two-third of American millennials were unable to identify the word “Auschwitz” and 41 percent of total respondents were unable to identify it as a concentration camp or extermination camps.
The same study found that 22 percent of American millennials either had not heard of the Holocaust or were unsure if they heard of it.
“The United States encourages other nations to join us in supporting the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation,” Pompeo said in his statement. “We firmly believe it is humanity’s duty to honor Holocaust survivors, guard the memory of Holocaust victims and all other victims of Nazi persecution, and fight back against anti-Semitism, and attempts to ignore and revise history.”
“We urge all to take active steps to make sure the horrors of the Holocaust are not repeated and future crimes against humanity are prevented,” he added.