Polish human rights official under fire for saying his ‘nation’ took part in the Holocaust (LOL….)

(JTA) — Poland’s human rights commissioner is being urged to resign after saying the “Polish nation” took part in carrying out the Holocaust — a controversial statement in a country whose government increasingly emphasizes that Poland never collaborated with the Nazis.

Speaking Wednesday on the state-run TVP Info, Adam Bodnar said, “There is no doubt that the Germans were responsible for the Holocaust, but many nations took part in its implementation. Among them — and I say this with regret — the Polish nation.”

Members of Poland’s conservative government say he should resign, The Associated Press reported. Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Dziedziczak called Bodnar’s comment “scandalous,” untrue and added it “disqualifies him from public life,” according to the AP.

Bodnar, who frequently criticizes the government on human rights issues, quickly apologized for the remarks, saying he meant only to note that some Poles had committed crimes against Jews.

The German occupation of Poland was exceptionally brutal, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. A Polish government-in-exile was established in London. In addition to at least 3 million Jewish Poles murdered by the Nazis, the Germans killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians during World War II. Hundreds of thousands more were imprisoned or expelled.

Still, the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party has been seen as especially assertive in trying to suppress scholars and journalists who have discussed the culpability of individual Poles in the persecution of Jews.




WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill introduced in the US House of Representatives and named for the late Elie Wiesel aims to improve the US response to emerging or potential genocides.

The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 introduced Thursday serves to improve US efforts to prevent major casualties overseas.


Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Ann Wagner R-Mo., introduced the measure named for the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate. It ensures that the official policy of the United States deems the prevention of genocide and other crimes a matter of national security interest.

“Atrocities and violence committed over the last century and today make it all the more important that our government and leaders take steps to detect and prevent atrocities before they start in the first place,” Crowley said.

The act would also establish an interagency Mass Atrocities Task Force and encourage the director of national intelligence to include information on atrocities in the annual crime report to Congress. It also enables training for US Foreign Service officers on detecting early signs of atrocities.

“From the Holocaust to South Sudan, from Burma to Syria, the world has witnessed far too many genocides and mass atrocity crimes,” Wagner said. “My heart aches for those whose lives are being torn apart, and the fact that over 65 million people are currently fleeing preventable crises makes clear that the US government must improve its response to these conflicts.”

Boston event commends Nazi-era citizens’ acts of virtue, even as their judges abetted genocide



BOSTON — The role of judges in facilitating the Nazi regime’s march toward genocide was probed during a presentation hosted by justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week.

The gathering was tied to an exhibit currently on display in Boston’s John Adams Courthouse, called “Reflections on Law, Justice and the Holocaust.” Created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the installation is part of the museum’s outreach to legal professionals around the country.

“Indeed, law was part of the Holocaust,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard University’s Law School, during the June 12 gathering attended by 50 legal professionals, including the court’s chief justice, Ralph Gants.

Illustrating the power of judges to erode or — conversely — green-light a genocidal regime’s policies, Minow referenced the courts in Nazi-occupied France. To please the Nazis, Vichy legal authorities implemented racial laws with unprecedented speed. As Minow put it, “judges raced to create even more onerous laws” than were practiced in Germany.

An expert on military justice, Minow spoke about serving on the Kosovo post-conflict peace commission 18 years ago. Time and again, said Minow, people in the region told her that “independent courts” were needed if the former Yugoslavia was to heal. In addition to restoring public confidence, courts can punish the perpetrators of atrocities, set up “truth commissions,” and ensure victims receive reparations, said Minow.

Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow speaks about law and the Holocaust at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

Apart from due process, Minow said that all societies need “upstanders” – people who resist injustice by attempting to correct it.

“The responsibility for justice is in the hands of the people, said Minow. “The willingness of bystanders let’s bad things happen. That permits something like the Holocaust to happen.”

Minow recommended focusing on “the banality of virtue” — a spin on philosopher Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil” assertion, wherein Nazi perpetrators were motivated not by ideology, but by ordinary social needs. Examples of wartime virtue are found in the Holocaust museum’s 13-panel exhibit, including some of the individuals, groups and countries that rescued Jews from Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution,” in which 6 million Jews were murdered.

Ruins of a gas chamber-crematorium facility at Auschwitz-Birkenau, known as Krematorium II, photographed in November 2015. (Matt Lebovic/The Times of Israel)

Appearing in the courthouse until November 17, the exhibit frames German judges and courts as the key rubber-stamps for Hitler’s policies. Years before Germany’s descent to genocide, Third Reich citizens with dissenting opinions were sent to concentration camps. The legal framework for those camps, along with Nazi racial laws, was upheld by thousands of law professionals.

“Judges were among those inside Germany who might have changed the course of history by challenging the legitimacy of the Nazi regime and hundreds of laws that restricted political freedoms and civil rights,” according to the USHMM website.

‘Close communal ties’

Like Harvard’s Minow, Boston-based attorney Mike Ross believes in the power of upstanders to alter history — or at least the trajectory of a family.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Ross’s father, Steve Ross, was hidden by Polish farmers for several months. Despite being captured and surviving atrocious camps for the war’s duration, the now 90-year-old Ross has always framed the Holocaust in terms of people’s basic decency, his son told the courthouse gathering.

Boston attorney and former City Council head Mike Ross, the son of Holocaust survivor Steve Ross, speaks about the Shoah at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

Recently, 45-year-old Mike Ross visited Poland to locate sites related to his father’s past. The former Boston City Council head was particularly curious about the Polish farmers who hid his father during the start of the Nazi occupation. By the end of 1943, most of Ross’s family had been murdered at the death camp Treblinka, where up to 900,000 Jews were killed in 15 months. In occupied Poland, the penalty for sheltering Jews was far harsher than in Germany, and sometimes included the murder of the rescuer’s entire family.

The other prominent example of upstanders changing Steve Ross’s life, explained his son, came at the end of the war, when Dachau was liberated by US forces. Emaciated but elated to have survived, Ross was greeted by a soldier who embraced him with a hug and food. The G.I. also handed Ross a piece of cloth to dry his tears, which turned out to be a 48-star American flag.

“That just changed his life,” said Mike Ross of his father’s first encounter with American freedom during the liberation of Dachau.

In recent months, a film about Steve Ross has been screening in New England. Titled, “Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross,” the documentary begins with the survivor’s seven-decade search for the soldier who embraced him that day in Dachau. Ross’s long career as a social worker with at-risk youth is probed, as is his campaign to erect the New England Holocaust Memorial, where quotes from Shoah victims are literally etched in glass.

In the assessment of Mike Ross, ordinary Americans could have made more of a difference during Nazi Germany’s lead-up to genocide. Specifically, Americans were widely opposed to allowing more Jewish refugees to enter the country, said Ross, who was appointed in 2014 to serve on the USHMM Council. Even after the harrowing “Kristallnacht” pogrom in Germany, explained Ross, most Americans were against letting a mere 10,000 Jewish children into the country.

From Polish farmers risking their lives to hide Jews, to Danish sailors ferrying Jews to safety, Holocaust research shows that most upstanders were motivated more by what Minow called “close communal ties,” than by ideology or religious beliefs. In other words, people stood up for Jews because they knew and interacted with them on a daily basis.

Created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, an exhibit on the role of judges in Nazi Germany is on display in the Great Hall of the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)

“[Jews] who were better integrated and had more contacts with non-Jews were more likely to pursue the evasion strategy and had a higher likelihood of survival than those who had no friends or spoke broken Polish,” wrote researcher Evgeny Finkel in his 2017 book, “Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival During the Holocaust.”

Despite the presence of upstanders in occupied Poland, there were not enough of them to save 3 million Polish Jews. An additional 3 million ethnic Poles were murdered by the Nazis, beginning with the liquidation of Polish leaders. Under these circumstances, attempting to rescue Jews was not a snap decision for most people.

“The rescuers, even if guided by altruism, tended to help Jews they knew personally,” wrote Finkel. “It is unclear if they would have gone to the same lengths to help complete strangers.”

Attendees at a presentation on the role of judges in Nazi Germany, held at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, June 12, 2017 (Elan Kawesch/The Times of Israel)



MONTREAL — An online petition launched by B’nai Brith Canada aiming to prevent an American Holocaust denier from speaking in Toronto has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

Kevin Barrett, who has called the 9/11 attacks an “inside job,” is due to address the city’s annual Al-Quds Day rally on Saturday. Al-Quds is the Muslim name for Jerusalem, and the annual march during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is generally a call for the destruction of Israel.


In the petition, B’nai Brith demanded that Canada’s Border Services Agency keep out Barrett.

“Inviting a notorious Holocaust denier to this event demonstrated once and for all that Al-Quds Day is not a mere ‘anti-Israel’ event, but rather a hate rally designed to demonize and denigrate Canada’s Jewish population,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn told The Canadian Jewish News.

Barrett, a teacher at the University of Wisconsin in Madison until 2006, was barred from Canada in 2015. At the time, he reportedly referred to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris as a “false flag” operation.

“Barrett has repeatedly questioned the murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany,” B’nai Brith said.



A group of travel companies conspired to fix prices of educational Holocaust trips to Poland for Israeli students, police investigators said on Wednesday, after concluding an 18-month investigation.

Police said they found an evidentiary basis for prosecuting the companies and managers of Hillel Tours, Gesher Tours, Academy Travel and Diesenhaus on suspicion of acting as a cartel in divvying up tenders from the Education Ministry and other institutions to bring students to Poland. The students’ parents then had to pay the inflated rates – reportedly as much as NIS 6,000 – for the weeklong trip, police said.


“Evidence was gathered that established the suspicion that for years, the agents have acted as a cartel in order to maintain a high price, while presenting a false representation of competition between them,” Lahav 433, the National Crime Unit, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pinchas Ginsburg, the director of Hillel Tours and a major stakeholder in El Al Israel Airlines, is among the suspects.

The findings of the investigation, conducted in cooperation with the Antitrust Authority, were transferred to its legal department and to the economic department of the State Attorney’s Office, where a decision will be reached on prosecuting the case.

Police also said that during the investigation they found evidence that one of the company’s managers provided benefits to public employees to further the company’s interests.

Some 30,000 Israeli students take part in the annual Poland trips.



Anti-Israel activists disrupted on Tuesday a talk by MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) at Humboldt University in Berlin, in what appears to be a second antisemitic attack at one of Germany’s most famous educational institutions.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists hollered profanity and “The blood of the Gaza Strip in on your hand” and “Child murderer.”

Lavie is on a tour of German academic centers and meetings with Bundestag deputies, as well as with members of the Jewish community.

One protester wearing a T-shirt with the words “Boycott Israel” on it accused the Israeli representatives of apartheid.

Lavie said in a statement: “No one in Israel and around the world will prevent us from telling the truth and driving back the industry of lies and incitement against Israel,” and continued: “Unfortunately my lecture quickly turned into a violent and antisemitic demonstration of BDS activists, including Israelis, who did not let me speak.

MK Lavie and Holocaust survivor Dvorah WeinsteinMK Lavie and Holocaust survivor Dvorah Weinstein

“This is the ugly face of the boycott industry and the BDS movement. They are not fighting for peace or rights, but against the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the State of Israel. It saddens me that Deborah, a Holocaust survivor, should have witnessed this shameful spectacle,” the MK added.

Twenty BDS activists stormed the talk.

Holocaust survivor Deborah Weinstein, 82, said: “They came in advance to destroy and spoil, but it will not help them. Our work is completed. Many people, even those who were not for us, came, listened and asked questions, and wanted to hear us. I am sorry for that group of violent rioters, but I am not afraid and I will continue with this work.”

One activist said he was a “a journalist from Gaza” and cited material from the Israeli left-wing NGO organizations B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “It is absolutely pathetic that university authorities cannot ensure that a meeting hosting an MK will not be violently disrupted by protesters.”

He added: “It is unthinkable that a lecture about Israel from Zionist Israeli and pro-Israel voices can be disrupted by violence in a German university.”

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post: “The atmosphere against Israel in German society is increasingly toxic. BDS thugs shout down every Israeli that comes, preventing any discussion, and media platforms censor documentaries on antisemitism.”

He continued: “At the same time Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel repeats NGO slogans to disparage Israeli democracy, and the only Israeli at a Bundestag hearing on human rights is totally discredited. More than a problem for Israel, this is Germany’s disgrace.”

The delegation of Israelis and Weinstein had previously visited Bebelplatz, which is a square located on the Humboldt campus, and was the scene of the infamous book burning by Nazis of Jewish and non-Jewish works in 1933.

One of the activists who disrupted the event was Israeli. Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, told the Post, that “the fact there are Jews among the protesters is unfortunate but nothing new. This has accompanied Jewish life for centuries.”

In 2008, roughly 1,000 pupils and left-wing activists who unlawfully occupied the Berlin university and some of whom destroyed an anti-Nazi exhibition, were reacting to the university’s close ties to Israel, Humboldt’s then-president Christoph Markschies has said.

He told the Post that one of the protesters in the lobby of the university said, “Damn Israel” when asked by another student to “stop” vandalizing the exhibit “Betrayed and Sold,” about the plundering of Jewish businesses under the Nazis.”




A long-missing reel of Holocaust survivors recorded singing after World War II were recently rediscovered at the University of Akron in Ohio, PBS reported last week.

The songs were part of a collection of testimonies recorded over 70 years ago by Chicago-based psychologist David Boder following the liberation of Nazi camps in Europe. The mysterious wire recordings were delivered to the American university in 1967, and remained unheard for decades.


“Scholars were telling us that there was a missing reel. There was a reel of songs that were sung to Boder by Holocaust survivors in a camp in France after the war,” Akron Professor David Baker told PBS affiliate WVIZ ‘ideastream’ in Cleveland. “We had a box of reels, and scholars would ask from time to time, do you know what’s on those? And we had to say, no, we don’t.”

Therefore, media specialist Jon Endres and his colleague James Newhall spent three year building a mid-century-style playback machine from spare parts that would transmit the audio stored on the spools of thin silver wire.

By reproducing the outdated audio technology, the Akron scholars were able to emit a set of hauntingly somber Yiddish songs sung by Jews who had survived the harrowing ordeals of the Holocaust.

The songs were understood to have been recorded around 1946 at a displaced persons camp some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Paris.

Baker, the director of Akron’s Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, said two of the uncovered songs were sung by a woman named Guta Frank, who had survived several ghettos in Poland and forced-labor work.

One song, translated to “Our village is burning,” was adapted by the composer’s daughter to inspire Jews in the Krakow ghetto to rebel against the Nazis, Frank discusses in introducing the song in the recording.

“It’s a bit like hearing the voice of a ghost. Here are voices that have been silent for 70 years,” Baker said. “And, all of a sudden, they’re singing. And they’re singing to us.”

Thessaloniki’s new Holocaust museum a sign of a city finally embracing its Jewish past

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the children of a Greek Jewish Holocaust survivor unveiled a plaque Thursday for the planned Thessaloniki Holocaust Memorial Museum, it marked a new chapter for the city’s famed, and nearly destroyed, Jewish community.

It is only now, more than seven decades since the first convoy of Jews was loaded onto cattle trucks for the journey north to their deaths in Auschwitz, that a fitting memorial is becoming a reality — a sign that Thessaloniki, or Salonica as it was known, is finally willing to come to terms with its Jewish history and the great tragedy that befell it.

Netanyahu was joined at the museum’s unveiling by Rachel and Eliyahu, the two children of Moshe Ha-Elion, 93, a Greek Holocaust survivor who this year lit a torch at Israel’s Holocaust memorial day ceremony, but was now too ill to make the journey with the prime minister.

“I would like them to join us in unveiling the plaque that will be in the museum to commemorate what happened here for two purposes, commemoration and prevention,” said Netanyahu, who was in the northern Greek city for a trilateral meeting with his Greek and Cypriot counterparts.

“We commemorate the loss of these human beings, our fellow Jews, but we also dedicate ourselves to make sure that this horror will never happen again,” said Netanyahu.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (C), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), the Mayor of Thessaloniki Yannis Boutaris (R) and the president of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki David Saltiel attend the presentation of a memorial plaque at the Museum of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki on June 15, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDIS)

The remnants of the community, who number less than 1,000 today, have long dreamed of a fitting memorial to the once-great Jewish community of Thessaloniki, one of the most important centers of Sephardic Jewry for 450 years following the expulsion from Spain. Known as the Flower of the Balkans, it was the center of Ladino culture in the region.

Now, 74 years after the great destruction began, this memorial is finally becoming a reality.

“Jews were here for 500 years and the history of Thessaloniki is the history of the Jews,” said long-standing community president David Saltiel, who has been the driving force behind the museum and a tireless worker to ensure that neither the current tiny community, nor the memory of their famed past, fades away.

At the turn of the last century, some 90,000 Jews lived in the city that was a key trading port in the Ottoman Empire, making up some 60 percent of the population.

Jewish family from Thessaloniki, Greece seen in 1917. (Wikimedia Commons)

But by the eve of World War II — faced with poverty, tensions with the Greeks who took control over the city in 1912, and a devastating fire that left 55,000 homeless in 1917 — the community had dwindled to some 55,000.

The Nazis entered the city in April, 1941, but it was not until two years later that they began implementing the Final Solution for Greek Jewry.

Jews in Salonika registering at Libery Square in July 1942. (Bundesarchiv)

On March 15, 1943, the Nazis began deporting the Jews of Thessaloniki. Some 4,000 people were loaded onto cattle cars and shipped off to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, the longest journey of all the train transports of the Holocaust

Eighteen more convoys followed. By August, 49,000 out of the city’s pre-war population of 55,000 Jews had been deported. Fewer than 2,000 survived.

A Hellenic Railway officer walks in front of a train that was used by the Nazis to carry Jews from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz during the WWII, in the Greek northern town of Thessaloniki, on Sunday, March 15, 2015 (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

The Germans not only destroyed the population, but also wiped out its cultural imprint.

Following the deportations, Jewish property was looted, synagogues were destroyed, priceless Ladino libraries were shipped to Germany and Jewish cemetery headstones were used as construction material. The city’s Aristotle University was later constructed on top of the ancient cemetery.

To this day, the Jewish community archives are held in the Kremlin, despite ongoing and so-far fruitless efforts to have them returned.

The few who returned to the city after the war did what they could to keep the community alive, including the establishment of a small Jewish school and museum, but they found a city now almost entirely Greek with little interest in confronting the diversity, or the horrors, of the past.

However, in recent years this has begun to change, a move Saltiel credits to the 2011 election of Mayor Yannis Boutaris.

An unorthodox, chain-smoking, straight-talking businessman with a stud in one ear, Boutaris, 75, has shaken up Thessaloniki since becoming mayor. One of his main thrusts has been to revive Thessaloniki’s cosmopolitan history, embracing a city important to the Jews and to Turks for its Ottoman past.

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Mayor of Thessaloniki Yannis Boutaris (R) during the presentation of a memorial plaque at the Museum of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki on June 15, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDIS)

“This is the fulfillment of a historic responsibility for Thessaloniki,” Boutaris said when he announced the museum project. “Only in this way will we be able to have a greater awareness of what this crime means and why it should not be repeated.”

Boutaris helped turn the dream of the Holocaust Memorial Museum into a reality,granting the permits and, more importantly, the political backing for the 5,000 square meter, six-story building that is expected to be completed by 2020.

Greek Jewish community head David Saltiel (Gavriel Fiske/Times of Israel)

The museum will hold a memorial to the Jews who were murdered and also exhibitions devoted to the culture and history of the Sephardi community of the city. It will also tell the story of the smaller Romaniote Jewish community that has been in Greece for more than 2,000 years, Saltiel said.

With Boutaris’s backing, the Greek railways donated a plot of land overlooking the railway station from which the Jews were deported and 22 million euros were raised to fund the building. The German government donated 10 million euros and the rest came for the Niarchos Foundation, a major Greek philanthropic organization founded by shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos.

“Unless you have the approval of the citizens who are in favor, you cannot build such a museum,” Jewish community head Saltiel told The Times of Israel.

“The only guarantee we have is that the people of Thessaloniki believe in it and want to do it. The mayor represents the city and we are honored that after 70 years they want to tell the story of the Jewish people in Thessaloniki and honor the city,” said Saltiel.

The design of the planned Thessaloniki Holocaust Memorial Museum (Courtesy/Jewish Community of Thessaloniki)

For Boutaris, this strategy was about confronting two of greatest challenges to Greece in recent years: the devastating economic crisis and the rise of the far-right neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to become the third largest party in the Greek parliament.

By embracing the past, he hoped to both encourage tourism to the city and also help confront the racism and anti-Semitism that are so prevalent in Greek society.

In 2013, on the 70th anniversary of the deportation, Boutaris organized and led, together with the Jewish community, a public march from Liberty Square, where the Jews were first rounded up, to the Old Railway Station. It was the first such public display by the Jewish community since the end of the war.

More than 2,500 people, many of them non-Jews, participate in a march to mark 70 years since the deportation of the Jews of Thessaloniki (Michael Thaidigsmann/ WJC via JTA)

He also pushed for the erection of a monument at Aristotle University, built over the ruins of the Jewish cemetery.

“Mayor Boutaris is a fighter for this museum, he knows that it is something necessary to help confront the racism,” said Saltiel.

To that end, Saltiel and Boutaris agreed that the new project would not only be a Holocaust memorial and a museum of Greek Jewry, but would also serve as a principle education center on human rights and tolerance.

“We want to teach students and teachers what happens when democracy is not working and racism and anti-Semitism can create these horrors,” said Saltiel. “It is very important now as we are seeing the rise of the extreme right in Greece and across the world.”

Trump denies Holocaust museum’s request for more funding

(JTA) — Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League criticized President Donald Trump’s budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to reject the $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported.

“In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises,” read the letter, which was spearheaded by Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz.

“Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure,” continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the proposed budget.

“The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry,” the group’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a Friday statement. “In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museum’s mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum.”

The museum had requested a funding increase of $3 million from the 2016 allocation in order to cover rising costs, maintenance, equipment support and security.

Trump’s new budget would deny that request, keeping the budget at the 2016 level of $54 million instead of the requested $57 million, according to The Hill.

In January, the president came under fire for issuing a statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. However, he struck a different tone in April, when he pledged to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials at in a speech praised by Jewish groups.

Bipartisan backlash erupts after Trump proposes slashing $3 million from Holocaust Museum funds

Some members of President Donald Trump’s own party are revolting in the wake of his proposal to slash $3 million in funding from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

The Hill reports that a bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers sent Trump a letter this week decrying his proposed cuts to the museum, which he proposed in his recently released budget.

“In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world rises,” the lawmakers wrote. “Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure.”

Among the lawmakers who signed the letter were Reps. Stephanie Murphy, (D-Fla.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), John Katko, (R-N.Y.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, similarly told the president that slashing the museum’s funds would be a major mistake.

“The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry,” he wrote.

The $5 million cut would represent a 5 percent decrease in the Holocaust Museum’s funding in 2017.