Holocaust survivors, families address Anne Frank meme

TIVERTON, R.I. (WLNE)– Holocaust survivors, their families, and community leaders addressed the recent uptick in anti-Semitism at the Tiverton Public Library Monday.

The event was coordinated by Rep. John Edwards and the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, entitled “Stories of Survival.”

Edwards explained, “When bad things happen, you can’t be silent. Silence is what let’s the bad things happen, and it let’s the bad things continue to happen.”

The educational program comes in response the Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant’s meme of Anne Frank on Facebook over a week ago.

The Anti-Defamation League reported a 42% increase in anti-Semitic acts over the past year in New England.

Congressman David Cicilline explained Monday, “We had Neo-Nazis gathering outside the community library in Providence. We had posting of Neo-Nazi recruitment flyers in East Providence last month. It’s an opportunity to remind people about the pain and the suffering and the horror of the Holocaust.”

Lilliane Birch’s mother survived Auschwitz, and escaped at the tail end of World War II.

“It’s unbelievably painful,” said Birch. “My parent are rolling over in their graves right now. How do you use Anne Frank, a 14-year-old child who died in Auschwitz, for advertising, or to be funny?”

She concluded, “Understand what we went through. Understand what other groups went through like the Armenian genocide, and educate yourself. Think about our common humanity instead of our differences.”

The Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant has since apologized for the meme, saying the employee who posted did not know who Anne Frank was.

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