Toggle navigation menu.
Helsinki Default Banner

Helsinki Commission Leadership Mourn Passing of Simon Wiesenthal

WASHINGTON– The Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Co-Chairman, Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), and Ranking Members Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) expressed sorrow at the passing of Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who devoted much of his life to documenting the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and their allies and tracking down war criminals as well as monitoring neo-Nazi and other extremist groups.

“The world has lost a courageous man determined to keep alive the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust,” said Brownback.  “In a very real sense, Simon Wiesenthal was the ‘conscience of the Holocaust.’  His tireless work was fueled by a passion for justice that should inspire others.  He challenged us not to be complacent in the face of injustice, hatred, and genocidal forces unleashed in seemingly far-off places like Darfur.”

The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

“Simon Wiesenthal confronted us with the truth about those who masterminded and carried out the Holocaust,” said Smith.  “As a testament to the memory of the millions of victims, he gave meaning to the words ‘never again’ by helping us learn from the lessons of the past.  Today, as we fight anti-Semitism across the OSCE region, we remember his legacy and act on the lessons of the Holocaust.”

A Ukrainian civil engineer by training, Wiesenthal survived five Nazi death camps during World War II.  He lost 89 relatives in the Holocaust.  After the war, he made it his life’s work to track down Nazi war criminals, reportedly bringing 1,100 to justice, and opened the Jewish Historical Documentation Center to be a repository of concentration camp testimonials and dossiers on Nazis.

“Simon Wiesenthal once said ‘there is no freedom without justice,’” added Dodd.  “The world will not forget his tireless pursuit of justice, as his work brought freedom to millions.  The memory of the Holocaust will never fade, and Mr. Wiesenthal did much to ensure future generations will never forget.”

“The murderers who oversaw Hitler’s death camps could never rest,” said Cardin, “because they knew Simon Wiesenthal was pursuing them.  Many of those who escaped justice after the end of World War II did not escape it forever, thanks to Simon Wiesenthal’s dedication and determination.  His passing challenges all of us to continue his life’s work of keeping alive the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.” 

In 1977, the Simon Wiesenthal Center was founded in Los Angeles as an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by confronting contemporary issues including racism, anti-Semitism, terrorism and genocide.  The Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier, participated in the U.S. delegation to the Cordoba OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism and on Other Forms of Intolerance in June. 

Media contact

Category
Country
Issue
Date
Filter Topics Open Close
Hearings

Hamas’ Hostages, Putin’s Prisoners, and Freeing Inte...

Oct 25, 2023

The practice of seizing hostages and political prisoners, as well as actively terrorizing civilians is a constant displayed by Hamas in Israel and Russia’s war against Ukraine. To highlight issues related to the United States’ strategy to free hostages and political prisoners, last year the Commission’s Ranking Member Congressman Steve Cohen and Chairman Joe Wilson […]

screen-reader-text
Articles

Helsinki Commission Advances Human Rights, Demands f...

Oct 19, 2023

By Shannon Simrell, Senior Policy Advisor Between October 2-13, 11 Helsinki Commission staff joined approximately 1,400 representatives of OSCE participating States (pS) and civil society representatives in Warsaw, Poland in an annual review of the human rights records of OSCE States. U.S. leadership highlighted demands for accountability from Russia and Belarus for their human rights […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Hearing: Has the United Nations Failed Ukraine and t...

Sep 27, 2023

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 2:00 pm to 3:30 p.m. Rayburn House Office Building Room 2200 Stream live here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrBXYsQA0Qk In 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the largest land war in Europe since World War II. In its wake, experts and leaders like President Zelenskyy raise serious questions whether a United Nations […]

screen-reader-text
Articles

United States Demonstrates Global Leadership on Ukra...

Jul 14, 2023

The Helsinki Commission’s four senior leaders helmed the United States’ bicameral, bipartisan delegation to the 30th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly last week in Vancouver, Canada. Co-Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD), serving as Head of Delegation, was joined by Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02) as Deputy Head of Delegation as well as Ranking Members […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

CHAIRMAN WILSON LEADS BIPARTISAN DELEGATION TO GERMA...

May 12, 2023

WASHINGTON—From May 1st to May 7th, Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) led a bipartisan U.S. delegation to Germany, Poland, and Ukraine to coordinate support for Ukraine and examine current wartime challenges. The delegation consulted with high-ranking government officials and civil society actors regarding ongoing military and humanitarian responses to the Russian invasion. Chairman […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners re-introduce Ukrainian Genoci...

Feb 24, 2023

Today, Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), Commissioners Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33), Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-09), Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-05) along with Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Bill Keating (MA-09), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), André Carson (IN-07), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), introduced a […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Steadfast Support for Ukraine: United States Delegat...

Feb 23, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA), led by Senator Ben Cardin (MD), met with Mykyta Poturaiev, Ukraine’s Head of Delegation and additional representatives of the Ukrainian Rada in Vienna, Austria, along with the Heads of Delegation of Canada, Estonia, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Announce Re-Introduction of H...

Jan 25, 2023

Today, Helsinki Commissioners Steve Cohen, Joe Wilson, Marc Veasey,  Richard Hudson, Ruben Gallego and Brian Fitzpatrick along with Representatives Ted Lieu, Maria Salazar and Marcy Kaptur, re-introduced the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act in the House of Representatives, bipartisan legislation that would require the Secretary of State to designate the Russian-based mercenary Wagner Group as […]

screen-reader-text
Helsinki_Default
Hearings

The Alarming Rise in Antisemitism and Its Threat to ...

Dec 13, 2022

In response to a rise in antisemitism in the United States and abroad, the Helsinki Commission held a hearing on December 13, 2022, featuring experts on preventing and combatting it. Witnesses testified about current development and how best to respond, as well as reinforced the important role of multilateral cooperation. In an increasingly global world […]

screen-reader-text
Articles

OSCE’s 2022 Ministerial Council in Lodz: Russia Isol...

Dec 09, 2022

By Janice Helwig, Senior Policy Advisor, Demitra Pappas, Senior Advisor Department of State, Shannon Simrell, Representative of the Helsinki Commission to the U.S. Mission to OSCE Foreign Ministers and senior officials from the 57 participating States and 11 Asian and Mediterranean partners of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) convened the OSCE […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Briefing on Russia’s Genoc...

Nov 14, 2022

Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep Steve Cohen joined a panel of four experts moderated by Helsinki Commission Senior Policy Advisor Michael Cecire to discuss Russia’s genocide in Ukraine. The four panelists included Dr. Timothy Snyder, Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University; Ms. Maria Kurinna, Ukrainian human rights activist and international advocacy advisor at […]

screen-reader-text
Briefings

Russia’s Genocide in Ukraine

Nov 14, 2022

Russia’s violently imperial war in Ukraine is not only a flagrant violation of international law and interstate norms, but it also carries all the hallmarks of an ongoing campaign of genocide in Ukraine. From Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s 7,000-word screed that systematically and historically denies Ukrainian nationhood; to mass graves uncovered in almost every Ukrainian […]

screen-reader-text