Speaker urges students to remember the Holocaust

Too often the world ignores or is unaware of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, said Kay King, a senior foreign policy adviser for the Democrats.

King, the top adviser to Democrats on the House International Relations Committee, said because many people don’t like to think about or examine the Holocaust there is a general ignorance of the horrific death of more than 6 million Jews in Nazi Germany during WWII.

She said one fourth of the population in the United Kingdom did not know about the Holocaust when asked.

“Unfortunately it is a story that a lot of people don’t know,” King said. “People have a hard time believing that a country like Germany could do what it did.”

She made her comments while delivering a talk about heroes of the Holocaust at the Hinckley Institute of Politics Tuesday. King is the institute’s fellow for spring semester.

King told the story of three men whose lives and actions during the Holocaust ironically tied them together.

She said former Utah congressman Albert Thomas was driving force in Washington to force the Roosevelt administration to acknowledge that the Holocaust was occurring when other politicians refused to act.

“They’d intentionally been avoiding efforts to rescue Jews,” King said.

Thomas was encouraged by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg to push the U.S. government to take action to stop the genocide occurring in Germany.

He saved hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews by providing them with fake Swedish passports and hiding them in safe houses–apartments where 60 or more Jews lived at one time, she said.

“He did whatever he had to do to save as many (Jews as possible) from the Nazis,” King said.

Wallenberg provided a passport for a 16-year-old boy living in Budapest in 1944 named Tom Lantos, who would later become the first Holocaust survivor to serve in the United States.

“(These men) didn’t know each other but their lives and faith were intertwined,” King said.

King said Wallenberg, who died mysteriously after being captured by Soviets, was largely unrecognized for his efforts until the late 1980s.

Lantos and King, who have worked together for 26 years, have worked to preserve Wallenberg’s memory and educate others about the Holocaust.

Kellen Wilkinson, a senior in political science, said it was refreshing to hear about individuals who performed heroic deeds in the face of opposition.

“So often (when) we talk about the Holocaust, we only talk about the negative; it’s important to keep the heroes in mind,” he said.

Lisa Teran

Too often the world ignores or is unaware of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, said Kay King, a senior foreign policy adviser for the Democrats.