Hudson Valley commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day

File Holocaust survivors attend a ceremony at the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim Poland

Duda said he and Rivlin were there to give testimony to the destruction of the Jewish people and warn about where anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism can lead.

While 84 percent responded that they knew the Holocaust occurred in Germany, only 37 percent identified Poland as a country where Jews were also killed.

Spungen, as well as other influential speakers and the school, showed films they thought were important, like "The Counterfeiters", the 2007 Oscar victor for best foreign language film that details the secret Nazi scheme of currency forging.

Michel Kichka, a professor at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, was invited to speak at the United Nations for its program marking Holocaust Remembrance Day about his graphic novel Second Generation: Things I Never Told My Father. The percentage increased to 41 percent among millennials, defined as those aged 18 to 34.

"The issue is not that people deny the Holocaust; the issue is just that it's receding from memory", said Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, which negotiates restitution for Holocaust victims and their heirs.

Despite the gaps in the respondents' knowledge, the study found an overwhelming consensus - 93 percent - that all students should learn about the Holocaust at school.

More than 1 million people died in the camps.

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According to the Claims Conference website, "Almost half of Americans (45 percent) can not name a single" one of the 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Nazis' reign.

In his remarks, Rivlin noted how Poland had for centuries been a haven for Jews fleeing persecution in other parts of Europe and Russian Federation - indeed, some historians estimate that three-quarters of the world's Jewish population lived in Poland during the Renaissance. In 8th grade, you co-write a play about the Holocaust: they'll call it a cantata, even though you aren't sure what that means.

"We shouldn't really be that surprised", Thane Rosenbaum, a law professor, novelist, and voice for the so-called "second-generation" Holocaust survivors, told NJJN in an email.

"If we don't go, we will miss one of the strongest experiences that can touch a person", he said.

"Today, we honor the millions of lives lost in one of the darkest and most inhumane chapters in all of human history", said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Attendees held signs emblazoned with the Star of David, as well as slogans such as "We Remember" and another quote from Wiesel, "To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time".

Given the new law, some Jewish leaders are asking whether Jews should be visiting Poland and supporting its economy if the government is eager to erase the fact that many Poles did in fact support the Nazis.

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