February 9, 2012
Responding to the breaking story that a U.S. Marine unit based in Afghanistan photographed themselves with a Nazi SS insignia, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said:
“That 70 years after the United States Armed Forces helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany, to learn that a unit of the United States Marine Corps serving in Afghanistan adopted the SS insignia alongside the Stars and Stripes, desecrates the memory of some 200,000 Americans who gave up their lives to defend freedom against that infamous symbol. The SS units bore the principal responsibility for carrying out Hitler’s Final Solution, which led to the extermination of six million Jews including a million and a half children. In addition, members of the SS murdered unarmed American POWs from Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge.
We call on President Obama and the Secretary of Defense Panetta to immediately investigate on how such an outrage could have occurred and to discipline all those involved. In addition, it is clear that younger generations entering the US military need to be better educated about the lessons of World War II and the Holocaust. The Simon Wiesenthal Center stands ready to assist the US military in an ongoing education effort.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.