Nov 21, 2023 - News

Holocaust survivors urge "empathy and peace" in Israel-Hamas war letter

people on a zoom

Holocaust survivors (top row) Sharon P.S. and Rodi G (bottom row) Sam H. and Marion D. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Ten local Holocaust survivors penned an open letter on the Israel-Hamas war, urging people to "come together to affirm each other's humanity."

Why it matters: The letter and video, posted on the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center's website, offers a message of healing and unity at a time when people around the world remain deeply divided.

What they're saying: "The world is failing at its duties. People are retreating to their corners, casting blame on those who look, sound, or worship differently," they write.

  • "Jewish places of gathering and worship are being defaced with swastikas as Jews around the world are being told that 'Hitler should have eradicated all of you.'
  • "A 6‐year‐old boy in our community was stabbed to death because he was Palestinian. None of these actions will bring about a more peaceful and just world."

Zoom in: The group condemned "Hamas' terror," while writing that "all Palestinians are not Hamas."

  • "As we see the images of Palestinian children covered in soot, their parents and grandparents lining up at the border to seek safety in Egypt, thousands more already dead and wounded, our hearts ache for them, too. The plight of civilians trapped in a war zone is one that we also know all too well."

The bottom line: The only way forward, the survivors write, is together.

  • "We must lay down our arms and stretch out our hands."
woman in gray sweater
Rodi Glass on a video reciting the letter. Photo courtesy of Chicago Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

More Chicago stories