If Auschwitz did not change the world, what will? If that experience did not alter the course of history and move it into the direction of life and compassion and humanity, what will? Forty years after the event, the event is being distorted, cheapened, trivialized, politicized. There isn't a single level on which that event is not suffering and on which the human beings who endured it are not suffering.

Today we hear, on the highest level of our nation, words being said, comparing the victims to the others, who at best -- at best -- fought on the side of the killers. How can we teachers continue to teach on the basis of such a statement?

If all people were victims, including those who killed the victims, then there were no victims. Then maybe the whole event didn't take place. Then our whole life is an illusion, a mirage in the desert. Maybe we are the dream of a madman, to paraphrase Shakespeare.

This attitude of limited, of changing, of masking truths is dangerous because it helps those who deny the event itself. There are already hundreds of books that have come out all over the world, including our own country, saying that it never occurred.

Now, we are still here. Those who were at Terezin are still here. And those who survived Buchenwald are still here. Many who have suffered are still here. What should they think? What should they feel? How can they maintain their own sanity today when such words are being uttered?

We cannot stay with that statement. We, with our lives, must oppose it, refute it. . . .