Deputy Head of Mission from the Israeli Embassy, Benjamin Krasna shares the importance of remembering the Holocaust and in particular at Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
- Beyond Duty is a Holocaustremembrance display
not only honoring Holocaust survivors,
but also courageous foreign diplomats
who helped rescue them.
Earlier this year, theUnited Nations allowed
the Israeli Foreign Ministry permission
to display the exhibit there.
And now, the exhibit is onthe road, with the latest stop
being the CBN Regent Universitycampus in Virginia Beach.
Among some of the righteous diplomats
featured in this exhibit,Raoul Wallenberg.
He was from Sweden.
Many of us know about him,
but how many of us have ever heard
about Sebastian de Romero Radigales?
He was from Spain.
Stories of bold diplomats
from nations like Peru andJapan are also featured.
Professor Gerson Moreno-Rianois with Regent University.
- Regent has a long history
of standing with the people of Israel
and the state of Israel.
And the Chancellor, ourfounder, Dr. Pat Robertson,
loves the people of Israel,loves the state of Israel,
so for us, this is just one more
in a long series ofthings that we have done
in partnering with thelocal Jewish community
and the state of Israel.
It highlights the importanceof embodying moral courage
in the face of evil.
I think that today, intoday's world especially,
I think young people, students, others
need to see and understand history.
- [Gary] Israel, CBN,and Regent University,
a unique partnershipbroadening Holocaust awareness
by honoring 36 courageousdiplomats and thousands of others
called the Righteous Among the Nations.
- Well joining us now for moreon the Beyond Duty exhibit
is Benjamin Krasna, Deputy Head of Mission
for the Embassy of Israelto the United States,
and it's an honor to have you with us.
- Thank you, Gordon.
Great to be here.
- Tell us what does it mean,
what does it mean to berighteous among the nations?
- I think to be
righteous among the nations
means that you really hadan inner moral compass
that you didn't depress,that you expressed,
that at some point you realizedthat you had to step out
and do something thatwasn't the norm around you,
that was different than theway everyone else was acting,
that you couldn't be silent,
that you had to take action.
And so we know many stories, for example,
about righteous in countries in Europe
like Poland and Holland who had hid Jews
and hid Jews at great risk to themselves.
In this case, in this exhibit,
what we're talking about are diplomats,
and diplomats who wereable to really expedite
Jews to leave Europe,
to get away from thedangers of the Holocaust,
to move away from theterror of Nazi Germany
and be able to escape whatwas probably sure death.
- Let's go to the other side of it.
Why was it so convenient, if you will,
for so many people to turn a blind eye to?
I mean, what was happeningwas absolutely horrific,
and yet, at the same time,people seemed to be willing
to go round up Jews andthen put them on trains
and deliver them to these camps.
Why, why's that seem to bea natural human tendency,
to just say, well I'm under orders
and I'm just going to obey the order?
- I think it's sometimes the easy way out.
People not willing to puttheir own necks on the line
to save their neighbor.
People not willing toput their career at risk,
the possibility of career advancement
for defying theirgovernments who preferred
to sit aside and not,
to undermine what they thought
was their own agenda, politics.
I mean it was true in Europe, it was true
in this country as well,and unfortunately there were
too many who did that, and therefore
many could have been saved.- This country is notable
for turning away shiploads of refugees
only to have them go back to Europe
and ultimately be killed.
And you look at thesestories and you do ask why.
What was so important thatyou couldn't let them in?
Why is it important today to remember?
I think that's one ofthe keys to this exhibit.
- Well I see two sides to it.
The first is that this is a generation
that is slowly but surely passing.
We're now 70 years afterthe end of the Holocaust.
Survivors and those who tookaction are more and more
no longer with us, andhow do you make sure
that this is a story that'spassed on from generation
to generation and it's never forgotten?
And because, unfortunately,these are lessons
that need to be learned as well today,
because when I see what's happening today
and I look at country like Iran
and its Holocaust denial,its vehement anti-semitism,
its calls to annihilate the Jewish state.
We take it very, veryseriously and we need people
to understand that.
And I think that if people just forget
that not in the very distantpast these things happened.
They don't understandthe nature of the threat,
that if you don't action,you stand by in silence,
then at the end of the day,
these horrific actscould repeat themselves.
- They could and the rabbiseven talk about every generation
having a Haman.
You know Haman was the one whoplotted to destroy the Jews
- Correct.in Iran
and we come into the kingdomfor such a time as this.
- And we need to be reminded.
Why do you think that is?
Why the hostility that seemsto be particularly directed
at the Jewish people, and I've got a, why?
- You know, I think that's a question
that we'd all like the answer to.
I think that sometimesthere are other interests
that come in play.
Israel being a small state inthe center of the Middle East,
for so many years anarea that was considered
very delicate becausewe had other interests.
Other interests usually meant oil, energy,
other strategic interests.
I think that that tide ischanging and I think that today
when you see some ofwhat's happening today,
and I think the whole region's come aware
to the threat that emerges from Iran,
Iran's activities and thenSyria and Iran's activities,
and Yemen and Iran'sactivities and Lebanon,
that you're so familiar with,
the threat that emanates from there,
I think the whole region isbeginning to understand that,
and I think that that'swhy it's important.
- Okay, well the exhibit,
it's in Regent University.
All you have to do to find outmore is to go to regent.edu.
It's available all theway through October 23.
If you want to schedule a group visit,
and I encourage you to,
there's a special number you can call,
and let's get informed.
We look at today's world and you see
all the threats against Israel.
Don't think it's some far-away place.
Right here in Virginiajust in the past week
there were swastikaspainted on a Jewish center
in northern Virginia,so we all need to have
the moral courage to stand up and say no,
not on our watch.
It's not gonna happen here.
Thank you, thank you
for all you're doing.- Thank you.
- Thank you.