Schwarzenegger calls out 'anti-Semitism raging throughout the world'

Arnold Schwarzenegger – whose father was a decorated Nazi soldier – speaks out against ‘anti-Semitism raging throughout the world’ as he is collects anti-bigotry award saying: ‘We cannot let them get away with lies and hatred’

  • The ‘Terminator’ star collected his award in Los Angeles on Monday night 
  • Advocacy groups report surge in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents in US

Arnold Schwarzenegger took the opportunity to speak out against ‘anti-Semitism raging throughout the world’ as he collected an anti-bigotry award in Los Angeles.

The Terminator actor, 76, insisted ‘we cannot let them get away with the lies and hatred’ at the Holocaust Museum’s annual gala on Monday, according to the museum’s chief executive Beth Kean.

Schwarzenegger, the son of a decorated Nazi soldier, called for people to ‘speak out’ against online hatred while receiving the award for his long-term advocacy against antisemitism and bigotry.

‘The more we speak out about that issue, the better it is, so every day you have to talk about it… over and over again because we cannot let them get away with these lies and with this hatred’, he said.

‘We have to talk to them and talk them down and let them know that the only way to go is through love and not with hatred. Hatred will never ever win, love in the end always wins.’

The former governor of California also spoke about visiting Auschwitz in September last year, where he signed a guestbook at the camp with The Terminator’s iconic line, ‘I’ll be back’. He said: ‘It was amazing to be there and see that first hand.’

‘I wrote in the book I’ll be back because I will be back there with a whole bunch of Hollywood celebrities so they can see what went on there and put the spotlight on this issue.’ 

Arnold Schwarzenegger collects the Award of Courage with 101-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Alexander at The Beverly Hills Hotel on November 6, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California

Holocaust survivor Joseph Alexander (L) stands alongside former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as he’s honored with the inaugural ‘Award of Courage’

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at The 15th Annual Holocaust Museum LA Gala on November 6, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

‘We have to talk to them and talk them down and let them know that the only way to go is through love and not with hatred. Hatred will never ever win, love in the end always wins.’

Oscar-nominated film producer Mike Medavoy, who worked with Schwarzenegger on four films including The Terminator during his career, presented the actor with the award cut from cured oak wood in a nod to his bodybuilding nickname The Austrian Oak.

A dozen Second World War Holocaust survivors attended the ceremony, including Joseph Alexander, who turns 101 this month.

READ MORE: Arnold Schwarzenegger – whose father was a decorated Nazi soldier – visits Auschwitz where he meets son of Holocaust survivor and signs visitor book ‘I’ll be back’

Mr Alexander placed a flame in a miner’s lamp in Schwarzenegger’s honor on stage, which was then transported by police escort to the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles.

During his speech, Schwarzenegger said: ‘For me to be here today is unbelievable because as you can imagine when you have been Mr Universe five times, Mr World, Mr International… you get a lot of trophies for your muscles – but this is a trophy for my heart.’

The actor also said he has always felt compelled to advocate for equality because ‘I come from a country who’s known to be a big part in the Second World War and have the most vicious Nazis’.

He continued: ‘I thought it was important to go out and let people know the next generation doesn’t have to be the same, that the next generation can change.’

Last September, Schwarzenegger met with the son of a Holocaust survivor at Auschwitz in Poland as he viewed the camp’s barracks, watchtowers and remains of gas chambers that endure as evidence of the Nazi extermination of Jews and others during World War II.

Schwarzenegger, who is originally from Austria, spoke about being the son of decorated Nazi soldier Gustav Schwarzenegger.

In a video posted to Facebook last March, he brought up painful memories about how his father was lied to as he fought, and how he returned to Austria a broken man, physically and emotionally, unleashing abuse on his family. 

After Schwarzenegger’s visit to Auschwitz, he vowed it wouldn’t be his last, signing the visitor’s book with his immortal phrase ‘I’ll be back.’

Gustav Schwarzenegger (17 August 1907 – 13 December 1972), was a Nazi soldier who fought during World War II

Gustav Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian Army from 1930 to 1937, achieving the rank of section commander, and in 1937, he became a police officer. 

After enlisting in the Wehrmacht in November 1939, Gustav Schwarzenegger gained the appointment of Hauptfeldwebel (Company 1st Sergeant) of the Feldgendarmerie, which acted as military police units. 

He served in Poland, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia. 

He was awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Classes for bravery, the Eastern Front Medal, and the Wound Badge.

He was wounded in action in Leningrad, Russia and then suffered recurring bouts of malaria, which led to his discharge in February 1944. 

Considered unfit for active duty, he returned to Graz, Austria, where he was assigned to work as a postal inspector.

Schwarzenegger died of a stroke on December 13, 1972, at the age of 65, in Weiz, Steiermark, Austria, where he had been transferred as a policeman. 

Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visits former Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, near Oswiecim, Poland September 28, 2022

Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a guestbook at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on September 22, 2023

The star signed the book with his iconic line from The Terminator, ‘I’ll be back’

The star’s presentation and comments come amid the devastating conflict between Hamas and Israel in the southern Levant.

Board chair Guy Lipa started the event with a statement: ‘Our community is devastated by the atrocities committed by Hamas. 

READ MORE: Cornell student Patrick Dai, 21 is charged with threatening to shoot Jewish students on campus with an assault rifle and calling for the rape and beheading of female Jewish attendees of the Ivy League college 

‘We are angry and scared when we see violent antisemitism in our backyard and around the globe, but I am heartened seeing our community come together tonight.’ 

Host Melissa Rivers told the audience ‘October 7 was the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust’ amid the Israel-Hamas war. 

Yesterday, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported that as many as 10,000 Palestinians had been killed in the conflict as Israeli airstrikes continue to pound the densely-populated Gaza Strip.

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed since the conflict began – most of whom died during Hamas’ initial incursion into southern Israel on October 7.

The war has prompted strong international reactions, ranging from peaceful protests to acts of violent anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

The Anti-Defamation League reported a nearly 400 percent spike in incidents in the US between October 7 and October 23.

Of the 312 incidents, ‘about 190’ were related to the conflict. 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it received 774 complaints of incidents motivated by Islamophobia and bias against Palestinians and Arabs from October 7 to October 24. 

The group said this was the highest level since 2015. 

Human Rights Watch has warned that the response of European nations to the hostilities in the Southern Levant since October 7 are ‘having harmful effects on human rights in Europe’. 

The first four days of the conflict saw anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom surge by more than 300 percent, according to Community Security Trust. 

In France, around 60 Stars of David were painted on walls in the 14th arrondissement of Paris last Monday night, prompting the mayor to say in a statement the acts ‘recall the events of the 1930s… which led to the extermination of millions of Jews’. 

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