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Watt: Victims, Survivors of the Holocaust Need More Than Memorials

Interior Secretary James Watt said today that both the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust should be remembered not only by memorials but also by “protecting liberty and spiritual freedom.”

“Those who are devoted to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust should also be the most outspoken in the demand that America develop its resources wisely so that strategically, economically and militarily we will be prepared to defend ourselves and others,” Watt told the semi-annual meeting of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Watt swore in Rabbi Seymour Siegel as executive director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Siegel is on leave from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he is Ralph Simon Professor of Ethics and Theology. Siegel is also president of the American Jewish Forum, a group organized to promote conservative political ideas among American Jews.

Also sworn in today were three new members of the Council: Herbert Katz of Hollywood, Fla. Dr. Ruth Miller of Shaker Heights, Ohio; and Edward Rosen, president of the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia. Two other new members of the 65-member Council, Laurence Tisch of New York and Albert Spiegel of Los Angeles, were not present.

Elie Wiesel, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Council, observed that Israel and the U.S. are the only countries which have recognized the importance of the Holocaust and sought to keep its memory alive through monuments.

The Council is planning and raising funds for a living memorial/museum for the Holocaust on the Mall here. The Council also directs the annual Week of Remembrance of the Holocaust which next year will include the first American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, April 11-15. A gathering of Holocaust survivors took place last year in Jerusalem.

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