Spielberg: We must act on what was learned from the Holocaust.

Steven Spielberg.

Steven Spielberg.

“Oscar-winning film director, writer and producer Steven Spielberg stressed on Monday the importance of gathering testimony to horrors such as the Holocaust in order to create awareness and preventative measures for the future,” reports the Jerusalem Post.

“Mass graves don’t have to open up before we act,” Spielberg said in the keynote address of a special UN General Assembly session marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Post reported. “It is a great accomplishment of our species that the testimonies [of survivors] can be heard in the high chambers of society.”

“The director of the epic Holocaust-era film Schindler’s List said the memory of the Holocaust remained with us today and the victims of past genocide had now become ‘teachers to victims of recent genocide,'” noted the Post.

“Genocide is an evil,” Spielberg said. “But, the greatest evil is when people who have been spared the horrors commit themselves to despair. We know despair and remembering are a choice. But we need to confront and act on what we learned.”

Additional excerpts from the article:

  • Touching on his preparations for Schindler’s List, Spielberg said directing the film and interviewing survivors were part of his approach to offering a platform for what he said was an often-encountered hope of survivors to be “heard, believed and understood”.
  • “It took me years of directing sharks, aliens, and dinosaurs before I felt ready to tackle the Holocaust,” he admitted.
  • Spielberg said although he had no personal journey through the Holocaust, his “Holocaust journey is a journey toward understanding.”
  • Spielberg said history and the memory of the Holocaust must be engaged with fully to progress justice.
  • This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, which was founded by Spielberg following the filming of Schindler’s List. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute is a long-standing partner of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program.

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