Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, we commemorate the victims that were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.
During the Holocaust, and in the events that led to it, the Nazis exterminated one third of the European Jewish population. Six million Jews, along with countless other members of minority and disability groups, were murdered because the Nazis believed they were inferior.
Cloudflare’s Project Galileo provides free protection to at-risk groups across the world including Holocaust educational and remembrance websites. During the past year alone, Cloudflare mitigated over a quarter of a million cyber threats launched against Holocaust-related websites.
Antisemitism and the Final Solution
In the Second World War and the years leading up to it, antisemitism served as the foundation of racist laws and fueled violent Pogroms against Jews. The tipping point was a night of violence known as the Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass"). Jews and other minority groups were outlawed, dehumanized, persecuted and killed. Jewish businesses were boycotted, Jewish books burned and synagogues destroyed. Jews, Roma and other “enemies of the Reich'' were forced into closed ghettos and concentration camps. Finally, as part of the Final Solution for the Jewish Question, Germany outlined a policy to deliberately and systematically exterminate the Jewish race in what came to be known as the Holocaust.
As part of the Final Solution, the Nazis deployed mobile killing units. Jews were taken to forests near their villages, forced to dig mass graves, undress, and then shot — falling into the mass graves they dug. This was the first step. However, this was “inefficient”. More “efficient” solutions were engineered using deadly gas. Eventually, six main extermination camps were established. They were extremely “efficient” at exterminating humans. Initially, the Nazis experimented with gas vans for mass extermination. Later, they built and operated gas chambers which could kill more humans and do it faster. After being gassed, prisoners would load the bodies into ovens in crematoriums to be burned. In one of the larger death camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, more than one million Jews were murdered — some 865,000 were gassed and burned on arrival.
Fighting racism with education
Seventy-seven years later, sadly, racism and antisemitism are once again on the rise and have gained traction across Europe during the pandemic and across UK university campuses. Earlier this week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres decried the resurgence of antisemitism and said that “...the rise in antisemitism — the oldest form of hate and prejudice — has seen new reports of physical attacks, verbal abuse, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues vandalized, and last week the hostage-taking of the rabbi and members of Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville, Texas.”
It is through education that we will defeat bigotry and racism, and we will do our part at Cloudflare — through education and by supporting Holocaust educational organizations.
“Our response to ignorance must be education”
- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
Supporting Holocaust educational organizations with Project Galileo
As part of Project Galileo, we currently provide free security and performance products to more than 1,500 organizations in 111 countries. These organizations are targeted by cyber attacks due to their critical work. These groups include human rights defenders, independent media and journalists, and organizations that work in strengthening democracy. Among them are organizations dedicated to educating about the horrors of the Holocaust, and preserving and telling the stories of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust to younger and future generations.
Cyber attacks on Holocaust-related websites
Over the past year, we’ve seen cyber attacks on Holocaust-related websites gradually increase throughout the year. These attacks include mostly application-layer attacks that were automatically detected and mitigated by Cloudflare’s Web Application Firewall and DDoS Protection systems.
In May 2021, cyber attacks on Holocaust-related websites peaked as they increased by 263% compared to their monthly average.
Applying to Project Galileo
Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet. Part of this mission includes protecting free expression online for vulnerable groups.
The Internet can be a powerful tool in this matter. However, organizations often face attacks from powerful and entrenched opponents, yet operate on limited budgets and lack the resources to secure themselves against malicious traffic intended to silence them. If they are silenced, the Internet stops fulfilling its promise.
To combat the threats, Cloudflare’s Project Galileo provides robust security and performance products for at-risk public interest websites at no cost. Application to Project Galileo is open to any vulnerable public interest website. You can apply via our partners or apply directly to Project Galileo if you don’t have any affiliation with our trusted partners.
A note from Cloudflare’s Jewish employees
Many of us, like myself, are descendants of Holocaust survivors. My grandparents fled from Nazi-occupied Poland to survive. Sadly, my grandparents — as other elderly survivors, are no longer with us. Many of us have faced antisemitism in various forms. Together, we are part of Cloudflare’s Employee Resource Group for Cloudflare’s Jewish community: Judeoflare. We have a responsibility to make sure the world remembers and never forgets the atrocities of the Holocaust and what racism and antisemitism can lead to.