94-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Issues Fiery Open Letter Denouncing Jonathan Glazer

In the wake of the inflammatory remarks by film director Jonathan Glazer at the Oscars, David Schaecter, a 94-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, issued a public letter to him in which he denounced his statements.

Glazer won an Oscar for directing “Zone of Interest,” a film about the family of Rudolf Hess, the head of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The entire movie is about the Hess family living at Auschwitz in a house while the viewer never sees the victims of the Holocaust.

Glazer said in his Oscars speech:

Thank you to the Academy for this honor and to our partners A24, Film4, Access, and Polish Film Institute; to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for their trust and guidance; to my producers, actors, and collaborators. All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present — not to say, “Look what they did then,” rather, “Look what we do now.” Our film shows where dehumanization leads, at its worst. It shaped all of our past and present. Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation, which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October the 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist? Aleksandra Bystroń-Kołodziejczyk, the girl who glows in the film, as she did in life, chose to. I dedicate this to her memory and her resistance. Thank you. 

The letter from the Holocaust survivor stated:

I am 94 years old and the only member of 105 souls in my family to survive the Holocaust. I miraculously survived nearly three years in the hell of Auschwitz and one year in the hell of Buchenwald. I watched in anguish Sunday night when I heard you use the platform of the Oscars ceremony to equate Hamas’s maniacal brutality against innocent Israelis with Israel’s difficult but necessary self-defense in the face of Hamas’s ongoing barbarity.

Your comments were factually inaccurate and morally indefensible.

The “occupation” of which you speak has nothing to do with the Holocaust. The Jewish people’s existence and right to live in the land of Israel predates the Holocaust by hundreds of years. Today’s political and geographic landscape is the direct result of wars started by past Arab leaders who refused to accept Jewish people as their neighbors in our historic homeland. Now that several Arab countries are making peace with Israel because security and prosperity are better for all people, Iran and its terrorist proxies started another war, abetted by too many who, through naiveté or malice, blame “the occupation.”

Worse is that you chose to use the Holocaust to validate your personal opinion. You made a Holocaust movie and won an Oscar. And you are Jewish. Good for you. But it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for the six million Jews, including one and a half million children, who were murdered solely because of their Jewish identity.

And it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for those of us who personally saw the world stand silent as our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were murdered. We actually had nowhere to go – no possible place of refuge. No country would accept us even though world leaders knew full well that thousands of Jews were being murdered every day. There was no Jewish nation to which we could flee.

You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel.

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