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People lay down flowers on slabs of the Holocaust Memorial to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Berlin, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp on Jan. 27, 1945. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The White House says it didn't mention Jews in its Holocaust statement on purpose


On Friday, President Trump marked International Holocaust Remembrance day with a statement. The statement did not mention 6 million Jews who were killed, instead referring generally to the "victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust."

On Saturday, Hope Hicks, spokeswoman for Trump, said that was an intentional move, saying the administration didn't want to alienate any other groups that were persecuted and killed by Nazi Germany. 

Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.
Hope Hicks

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both mentioned Jews specifically in their Holocaust Remembrance Day statements, CNN reports

Critics said to do otherwise fuels Holocaust deniers like Iran and Russia, which do not acknowledge Adolf Hitler's specific targeting of Jews.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, was "puzzled" by the statement.

Hicks argued the more general statement also acknowledged the more than 5 million "priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah's Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters" who were also killed by the Nazis. 

World Jewish Congress leader Ronald Lauder defended the statement, saying it "appropriately commemorates the suffering and heroism that mark that dark chapter in modern history."

Some observers were dismayed at the decision.

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