93/024/21 Address at Holocaust Museum Dedication (Washington, DC)  Return to: Index of 1993 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

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U.S. Department of State
93/024/21 Address at Holocaust Museum Dedication
Office of the Spokesman

Address by
Secretary of State Warren Christopher
at luncheon honoring the Holocaust Museum Dedication

April 21, 1993
Washington, DC

I am most pleased to welcome you to the Department of State and to have 
an opportunity myself to participate in the events surrounding the 
dedication of the Holocaust Museum.  I can't resist on this solemn 
occasion saying a word about what a great pleasure it is for us here in 
the Department of State to have the presence, I think, probably of the 
largest number of heads of state that have ever been in this room at one 
time.  It is the event that has drawn us together, but it's a signal 
event, and I'm very grateful to all of you for having come to Washington 
to attend this very solemn and very powerful occasion.  None of us can 
know how the history of the 20th century will be judged, but even from 
this close vantage point one thing is certain:  When the book of our age 
is written, its pages will forever be stained by the horror of the 
Holocaust.  Ultimately, the judgment of history will be--indeed, it must 
be--weighed in human terms.  

The Holocaust Museum, which is the occasion for our being together, 
brings home the terrible cost of intolerance and indifference; the cost 
measured in priceless people, lives shattered beyond comprehension, 
communities consumed by the fires of hate.  We properly refer to these 
atrocities as being inhuman.  But we must take great care not to let 
this characterization distance us from the events of the inhumanity.  We 
cannot allow ourselves, even for a moment, to believe that human beings 
are incapable of engaging in such conduct again and again.  We must 
remember those lost lives, and we must remember how they were lost.  

This extraordinary museum which we have come to dedicate compels us to 
reflect on the sanity of our own time, the insanity of another time, the 
sanctity of human life, and on our duty to protect the dignity of all 
human beings.  It represents an eloquent reflection of the growing 
international recognition that respect for human rights is vital to 
international security.  That same realization, the realization that 
human rights are a fundamental part of our foreign policy, has had a 
profound effect upon the conduct of American diplomacy.  

Our State Department here needs to act as America's ears, eyes, and 
voices to the governments around the world.  Today, perhaps in 
contradistinction to an earlier time, we expect our diplomats to do more 
than report events and calculate geopolitical interests.  We, too, as 
diplomats must bear witness.  We must advocate human rights.  In our 
work and in our policies, we must reflect the human and democratic 
values that Americans cherish and that people of good temper around the 
world cherish.  

President Clinton has called the promotion of democratic values one of 
the essential pillars of US foreign policy.  As Secretary of State, I 
intend to do my utmost to ensure that the United States responds to the 
unprecedented opportunities and the unusual challenges that we face as 
we seek to protect and enlarge human freedom.  Building a world of peace 
and freedom fundamentally means that we must all strive together, 
individually and collectively, to create conditions in which human 
dignity is respected and the human spirit can thrive.  In short, we must 
create the essential conditions for hope.

The Holocaust Museum stands as a monument to the millions of lives lost 
in the Holocaust:  fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, whole 
families-- nearly the entire world of European Jewry.  These millions of 
individuals will not be forgotten.  The murdered Jew, the gypsy, the 
dissident, the righteous gentile, and the other victims--they will not 
be forgotten.   The museum also stands as a reminder of the terrible 
cruelty that some human beings are capable of inflicting upon others.  
These unspeakable acts will also not be forgotten, and we must do our 
very best to ensure that they will not be repeated.  Thanks to the 
Holocaust Museum, those lost lives and the acts which took them from us 
will live in our nation's collective memory, just as they must live in 
our collective consciousness.  That memory--the memory of those events--
and our own personal conscience command us to say never again.  The very 
creation of the state of Israel and its survival as a healthy, 
sovereign, and secure nation reflect our collective determination that 
the Jewish people will never again be subjected to the horror of the 

In closing, I can think of no more fitting way to pay tribute to those 
lost lives--lives that were once so full of dreams and hopes--than to 
now ask you to join me in a solemn toast, a toast to recommit ourselves 
to responsibility for one another and to a world that has no room for 
hatred, no place for violence.  Please join me.  Thank you.  (###)

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