People gathered in Arkansas recently to honor Holocaust survivors and those who lost their lives in the tragedy, but a group of White Supremacists carrying Nazi flags and Jesus symbols interrupted the event.
The remembrance event in Russellville isn’t a new one. It has been organized for years by Joyce Griffis without any issue. That changed this year.
This year, they were interrupted by members of a white supremacist group.
“It made me feel terrible, it made me feel terrible for my friends. They were talking to us like we were pieces of nothing,” Griffis said.
One of the speakers at the event, a World War II vet, witnessed the protest.
Sir Beryl Wolfson, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, was invited to speak at the event.
Wolfson says he saw the liberation of the concentration camps with his own eyes. He says he’s traveled all over the state sharing his story for a reason.
“Never forget, because it could happen again, and I’m trying to get this out to the people so it won’t happen again in any place, ” Wolfson said.
He’s unfortunately right. This problem only seems to be getting worse, and if history is our guide, this isn’t the end of it. One of the bigoted protesters even had a sign that said, “The Holocaust didn’t happen, but it should have.”
Bearing crosses, a large portrait of Jesus and Christian and Nazi flags, the protester’s anti-Semitic signs also included one reading “YHWH has the oven preheated.”
I’m not one to label people “Nazis” unless they really fit the label, but if carrying a Nazi flag and talking about burning Jewish people doesn’t qualify, then nothing does.
The specific group is called “Shieldwall,” and they were motivated to protest after the Anti-Defamation League criticized Arkansas Tech University for honoring a professor accused of promoting anti-Semitism.
In April, the ADL criticized Arkansas Tech University for naming a scholarship in honor of Dr. Michael Link, whom the ADL wrote “repeatedly espoused Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism to his students and in his writing.” Arkansas Tech said it has found no evidence of these claims.
But they didn’t even protest ADL (or provide any kind of rebuttal to the group’s claims). They protested a Holocaust remembrance event, denying the existence of an event that the main speaker literally risked his life to fight.
Perhaps we need more remembrance events since some right-wing extremists are finding it increasingly easier to forget the tragedy.