Yad Vashem outraged at North Korea

02.03.04

Yad Vashem has expressed its outrage at North Korea about the horrible reports of gas chambers and human torture in concentration camps. Yad Vashem, as most of you know, is the main Holocaust Memorial Center in Israel. (Hat tip: Lynn):

Yad Vashem is appalled by reports of North Korea’s use of gas chambers to murder and perform medical experiments on political dissidents and their families. Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev has sent an urgent letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in which he calls for a full investigation of this insidious abuse of human rights. The issue is all the more severe due to North Korea’s status as a member of the UN. The internment, torture, and murder of North Korean political dissenters and their families was recently reported by the BBC.

In his letter, Shalev states with alarm that only six decades after the utilization of gas chambers to exterminate European Jewry, North Korea has apparently employed them against thousands of its own citizens. “The lives of untold thousands of North Koreans are in danger because their totalitarian government perceives them as a threat”, Shalev writes. “Although the rationale, scale, and context are vastly different, the chilling image of the murderers coolly watching their victims’ death agonies is all too reminiscent of Nazi barbarism.”

The important thing here is Yad Vashem’s reaction, not the seemingly ridiculously benign steps that it is requesting the UN to take. Everyone knows that in these situatuions the UN has no real power. But if enough organizations such as Yad Vashem start speaking out, maybe they can make a difference.

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