Steven Spielberg Accepts USC Shoah Foundation Honor, Says He’s “Increasingly Alarmed” by Antisemitism

Hollywood Gossip
3 min readMar 26, 2024

The legendary filmmaker established the foundation 30 years ago after making his Holocaust masterpiece ‘Schindler’s List.’ He emphasized, “The echoes of history are unmistakable in our current climate.”


“The echoes of history are unmistakable in our current climate,” said Steven Spielberg in a fiery speech connecting the past to the present as he accepted the USC Medallion on Monday. The legendary filmmaker received the University of Southern California’s highest honor, which has been presented on only three prior occasions, in recognition of 30 years of the Shoah Foundation, an organization that he founded after making his masterpiece Schindler’s List, and that has been based at USC for the last 20 years.

“The rise of extremist views has created a dangerous environment,” he said. “And radical intolerance leads a society to no longer celebrate differences, but to instead conspire to demonize those who are different to the point of creating ‘the other.’”

Spielberg’s co-honorees at the luncheon, which was emceed by USC president Carol Folt and held at the university’s Town and Gown building, were the more than 56,000 Holocaust survivors who have provided testimonies to the foundation. They were represented there by Celina Biniaz, who was the youngest female whose life was saved by Oskar Schindler, and who has, in recent years, been particularly active with the foundation.

Spielberg continued, “We see every day how the machinery of extremism is being used on college campuses, where now fully 50 percent of [Jewish] students say they have experienced some discrimination because they are Jewish. This is also happening alongside anti-Muslim, -Arab and -Sikh discrimination. The creation of ‘the other’ and the dehumanization of any group based on their differences are the foundations of fascism. It’s an old playbook, but it’s been dusted off and is being widely distributed today.”

He added, “I am increasingly alarmed that we may be condemned to repeat history, to once again have to fight for the very right to be Jewish.”

The three-time Oscar winner went on, “We can rage against the heinous acts committed by the terrorists of October 7th, and also decry the killing of innocent women and children in Gaza. This makes us a unique force for good in the world, and it is why we are here today: To celebrate the work of the Shoah Foundation, which is more crucial now than it even was in 1994. It is crucial in the wake of the horrific October 7th massacre; it is crucial to the stopping of political violence caused by misinformation, conspiracy theories and ignorance; it is crucial because stopping the rise of antisemitism and hate of any kind is critical to the health of our democratic republic and the future of democracy all over the civilized world.”