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US, Germany launch program to confront rising antisemitism, Holocaust denial

Holocaust Survivor Margot Friedlander, right, is greeted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, left, after speaking at a ceremony for the launch of a US-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Holocaust Survivor Margot Friedlander, right, is greeted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, left, after speaking at a ceremony for the launch of a US-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The United States and Germany are launching a new initiative to stem an alarming rise in antisemitism and Holocaust denial around the world.

The two governments announce the start of a US-Germany Holocaust Dialogue that seeks to reverse the trend that gained traction during the coronavirus pandemic amid a surge in political populism across Europe and the US. The dialogue creates a way to develop educational and messaging tools to teach youth and others about the crimes of Nazis and their collaborators.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and several Holocaust survivors were present for the launch at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.

“Holocaust denial and other forms of antisemitism often go hand in hand with homophobia, xenophobia, racism, other hatred,” said Blinken, who is the stepson of a Holocaust survivor. “It’s also a rallying cry for those who seek to tear down our democracies, which we’ve seen in both our countries, (and) often a precursor to violence.”

Maas echoed Blinken’s comments, underscoring the importance of Germany — “the country of the perpetrators,” he said — taking in a leading role in the project.

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