4 Jun, 2024


A Holocaust museum cut a survivor from its speaker’s list — for protesting the war in Gaza


Rene Lichtman says a Detroit-area Holocaust museum dropped him after he protested in front of its building

Holocaust survivor Rene Lichtman, 86, laid down in the road outside a Detroit-area Holocaust museum to protest Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

With other members of Jewish Voice for Peace in that December demonstration, Lichtman held up a sign. His read: “Jews and allies say never again for anyone.”

Days after the protest, Lichtman got a call from the CEO of the museum, The Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills. Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld told him that the board had voted to remove him as a speaker in its Survivor Talk Sundays series.

For 10 years, Lichtman had spoken to school and other groups about his Jewish childhood in France during the Holocaust — the death of his father, and how his mother had entrusted a Catholic family outside Paris to hide him from the Nazis.

Lichtman said the conversation with the rabbi is now a blur, but it was clear that the board made its decision over his views on the war in Gaza. 

He aligns his ousting to the experience of other war protesters called out for denouncing the war.

“What’s going on in the museums today, in the universities, is McCarthyism — Jewish McCarthyism,” he said. “Voices that are pro-Palestinian will get destroyed. You will lose your livelihood. The teachers will be thrown out. That’s the world we’re living in.” 

The Zekelman Holocaust Center did not respond to repeated requests for comment. 

Holocaust museum cut tie with survivor who protested war in Gaza – The Forward

Related: At March of the Living on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust survivors and relatives of Oct. 7 victims stress urgency of remembrance – The Forward

See also: An amalgam that undermines social peace – PAJU

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