search

Auschwitz foundation launches ‘Indifference Challenge’ to counter apathy to racism

Grant program will reward projects tackling racial prejudice, antisemitism and discrimination; chairman warns that bystanders facilitate bigotry

The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Piotr Cywinski delivers a speech during a ceremony at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, January 27, 2020. (Markus Schreiber/AP)
The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Piotr Cywinski delivers a speech during a ceremony at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, January 27, 2020. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The Auschwitz Pledge Foundation on Wednesday launched a grant program called “The Indifference Challenge” that will reward projects tackling racism, antisemitism, and discrimination.

The launch comes on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — a date that has become International Holocaust Memorial Day.

“What culminated in the Holocaust began with seemingly inconspicuous forms of discrimination,” Piotr Cywinski, head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and chairman of the Auschwitz Pledge Foundation, said in a statement.

“The hard truth is — bystanders facilitate discrimination and that is exactly what hatred needs to grow,” he said. He added that the problem “is present here and now, and it will only get worse if we don’t act.”

“The education system, media environment, and popular culture fail to teach about the dangers of indifference to casual discrimination. We want to change this,” he added.

The Indifference Challenge offers grants of up to 30,000 euros ($33,800) to projects for “fighting indifference” to racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny, as well as discrimination against migrants and LGBTQ people.

Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of Nazi Germany’s genocide of six million European Jews, one million of whom died at the camp between 1940 and 1945 along with more than 100,000 non-Jews.

An annual report earlier this week by the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency found that 2021 was the worst year in the past decade for antisemitic incidents. It came the day after Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry released a report showing a surge in online antisemitism last year.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed