Holocaust survivor pens letter to Steven Spielberg urging him to break his silence on Israel

'Jews will never be safe until Israel is safe and secure' says 94-year David Schaecter in open letter to Spielberg


NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 25: Steven Spielberg attends the "Back To The Future: The Musical" Gala Performance at Winter Garden Theatre on July 25, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

A 94-year-old Holocaust survivor has written an open letter to Steven Spielberg on behalf of many other survivors urging the director to voice his support for Israel and the return of the hostages taken by Hamas.  

David Schaecter, head of the survivor-run Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA (HSF), wrote the letter in early November out of heartbreak that “since October 7, 2023, you have not spoken out and publicly taken a stand against terrorism, against Hamas and the millions who celebrate the shedding of Jewish blood.” 

Schaecter wrote that he has admired the career of the Schindler’s List director and founder of the USC Shoah Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that records audio and visual testimonies with Holocaust and other genocide survivors. Spielberg’s historic passion for documenting the experiences of Holocaust survivors, not to mention his own Judaism, has made his silence on the conflict in Israel all the more disappointing, according to Schaecter.

“Wasn’t the entire purpose of recording 50,000 testimonies of our fellow survivors to make sure the world would never be able to deny, and must never forget, the Nazis’ systematic murder of six million Jews, including one and a half million children?” Schaecter wrote. 

“We who personally witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust never thought we would ever again see atrocities like those committed on October 7th: the murder and mutilation of innocent babies and children, the savage rape of women and the elderly, and the massacre of entire families.” 

“There was no Jewish nation to which we could flee.” 

“Take it from those of us who have been subjected to the most brutal and deadly antisemitism of all time: it will never go away, and Jews will never be safe until Israel is safe and secure,” he wrote in the letter. 

Schaecter was 11 years old when he was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where he was starved and tortured for nearly three years. After his liberation, he never found another survivor in his family.  

“Mr. Spielberg, Schindler’s List was about one man having the moral courage to risk his life to save others. We are not asking you to risk your life. We are asking you to use your voice,” he wrote, referring to Spielberg's moving 1993 Holocaust biopic.

The letter was signed by HSF’s executive committee and sent to Spielberg a week ago, though the director has not replied. 

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