After the murder of a guard, Stephen Tyrone Johns, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel wrote a letter, care of the museum, to Mr. Johns’ young son. The text of the letter is reproduced below:To the Young Son of Stephen Tyrone Johns:
Your name wasn’t mentioned on the ABC-Nightline report where you were briefly interviewed after the tragic death of your father. But what mattered were your words, that your Dad was “a loving father” and your “hero.”
I want you to know that he is a hero to us too.
Your father died protecting people, young and old, of many races and religions, who had come to a very special place: the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was the victim of a terrible hatred – a hatred cut from the same ugly cloth as the hatred that killed my grandparents in Europe, a hatred the museum was designed to warn us about, and to help erase from the world.
May we soon see the day when such irrational hatred in all its forms will be erased from the world. And may you derive comfort, even as you mourn your terrible loss, from the fact that your father was not only a hero in your life but died a hero to the world.
Rabbi David Zwiebel
Executive Vice President
Agudath Israel of America