Oral History

Thomas Buergenthal discusses quote from Abel Herzberg

"There were not six million Jews murdered; there was one murder, six million times."
Holocaust survivor Abel Herzberg

Judge Thomas Buergenthal was one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Judge Buergenthal has devoted his life to international and human rights law. A former chairman of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, he is currently the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School and served for a decade as the American judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He served as a judge and president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank, and was the first US national to be elected to the UN Human Rights Committee, a member of the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador, and vice chairman of the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland. With a unique perspective shaped by his experiences as a Holocaust survivor and international jurist, Judge Buergenthal has taught at several leading law schools and written more than a dozen books and numerous articles on international law and human rights.

Transcript

One of the problems with the six million number is that nobody can imagine that. You cannot personalize six million. You can personalize one person. I think it expresses a reality. It is true, because each one of those souls was killed, and each one had an individuality of his own, a history, a memory, a life, and that is lost in this whole discussion when we sort of cavalierly go over and speak about six million. It's important to keep that in mind.


Tags


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Share This