After two months of silence, Steven Spielberg made his first public remarks about the deadly October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, calling them “unspeakable barbarity.”
“I never imagined I would see such unspeakable barbarity against Jews in my lifetime,” Spielberg said in a written feature published on Friday by the USC Shoah Foundation, an organization he founded in 1994 to record and preserve interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.
The foundation has begun collecting testimonies and accounts from survivors of the October 7 attacks as part of their Countering Antisemitism Through Testimony Collection initiative, a project that documents post-Holocaust antisemitism.
Spielberg said the initiative is “an effort that will ensure that the voices of survivors will act as a powerful tool to counter the dangerous rise of antisemitism and hate.”
“Both initiatives – recording interviews with survivors of the October 7 attacks and the ongoing collection of Holocaust testimony – seek to fulfill our promise to survivors: that their stories would be recorded and shared in the effort to preserve history and to work toward a world without antisemitism or hate of any kind,” he said. “We must remain united and steadfast in these efforts.”
Some three weeks ago, Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation-USA published an open letter by its president, 94-year-old David Schaecter, calling on the Schindler’s List director to make a statement condemning the massacre.
Schaecter began the letter by expressing his admiration for Spielberg, especially for documenting the horrors of the Holocaust in Schindler’s List. He went on to describe how most of his family members were murdered in the Holocaust, and how he survived four years in Nazi camps, Auschwitz and Buchenwald, where he watched his brother die.
Expressing his frustration, Schaecter wrote: “That is why I, along with countless other survivors, are so heartbroken 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 – and want more. With all my heart, I urge you to speak out for the children, women, and men kidnapped and held hostage, and in support of Israel and Israel’s right to defend herself.”
Hannah Brown contributed to this report.