President Obama explicitly addressed the plight gay men faced during the Holocaust in a speech Monday urging that the atrocities of the genocide “never again” occur.
Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C., Obama included gays as part of the groups of people who were among the estimated 6 million victims during the genocide.
“We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history,” Obama said. “The one and only Holocaust — six million innocent people — men, women, children, babies — sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish. We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten.”
Obama’s speech, delivered to an estimated 250 people, took place days after Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, which began Wednesday evening and ended in the evening Thursday.
The audience consisted of Holocaust survivors, Jewish community leaders, and organizations that work on atrocity prevention. It’s unclear if any representatives of the LGBT community were in the audience.
“We must tell our children,” Obama said. “But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all — to pause and to look within.”
“Never again” was a refrain that Obama used repeatedly throughout the speech as he called for the rejection of hatred in all forms and the right for free states to exist, including Israel.
During the speech, Obama unveiled the executive order he signed earlier in the day authorizing sanctions on Syrian and Iranian companies using internet technology to track dissidents.
The president also announced he would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — to Jan Karski, a Polish Catholic who witnessed Jews being taken away to concentration camps and personally reported about the genocide to President Franklin Roosevelt.
This article originally appeared on: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/04/23/obama-includes-gays-in-holocaust-speech/