By Gina Raphael
Almost daily, we receive news of anti-Semitic activity in the United States; whether it is Jews attacked, houses of worship damaged or other forms of hatred. Last week, I came across a company called Offensive Crayons, with a colour they market called Auschwitz Ash. To add further insult, the Company also manufactures an adult colouring book, Little Dictators, featuring Adolf Hitler in a comedic form.
At a time when anti-Semitic activity is at an all-time high, these types of products ignite the flame that encourages hatred by dehumanizing and minimizing the lives of those brutally murdered. This product is not alone. There have been Christmas ornaments and beach towels featuring Auschwitz on them as well. There have been campaigns to have these items removed from Amazon and other retailers.
We must be committed to “Standing Strong” against hatred. In a letter to the Company, I explained to them that during the Holocaust, 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. At, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Jews were sent to gas chambers and their bodies cremated in ovens to ASH. More than one million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz alone.
I explained that “Hitler compared Jews to germs. He stated that diseases cannot be controlled unless you destroy their causes.” Hitler set out to exterminate the Jews across the world and eliminated 2/3 of the Jews in Europe. Featuring Adolph Hitler in a coloring book trivializes the horrors he committed.”
I was moved by a quote that had relevancy on the topic from Rabbi David Saperstein. “the Holocaust is used as the ultimate benchmark for our generation of the worst atrocity ever committed against one group of people.”
When my husband and I were honored by the Anti-Defamation League several years ago as Humanitarians of the Year, Abe Foxman, the former National Director of the ADL, gave me a book that I keep in my office to remind me every day of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. It is powerful and incredibly moving. The book has the word JEW written on each page with 40 columns per page and 120 lines per page. The word JEW is written 4800 times per page and there are 1250 pages in the book. The book contains the word JEW 6,000,000 times, conveying the magnitude of the tragedy. I used this book to explain to the creators of the Company the magnitude of the horrors at hand.
We must stand strong against these types of products. Holocaust distortion is a form of antisemitism, prejudice against or hatred of Jews. Holocaust distorters generally perpetuate long-standing anti-Semitic stereotypes, hateful beliefs that helped lay the groundwork for the Holocaust. Holocaust distortion & misuse undermine the truth and our understanding of history.
About the writer:
Gina Raphael is as an entrepreneur and business owner in Beverly Hills, CA. A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Gina is Chair of WIZO Los Angeles (Women’s International Zionist Organization), and Chair Israel Bonds Western Region. She is the mother of three daughters – Danielle Gross (21), Sydney Gross (19) and Mia Gross (10).