BRUSSELS – The European Parliament on Tuesday honored the 6 million Jews
martyred on European soil by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War
II, in a ceremony ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes
place on Thursday.
Representatives from around the continent and the
Jewish world, including Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli
Edelstein, World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder and European Jewish
Congress President Moshe Kantor, attended the event held at the EU legislative
body located in the city.
Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a
survivor of Buchenwald, spoke on the sideline of the event to The Jerusalem Post
about the significance of holding the ceremony at the seat of the
“Considering that the focus of anti-Semitism has returned to Europe,
there’s a special importance that the European Parliament has decided to hold
this ceremony here; to make sure that Europe never becomes Nazified again. So I
commend them on their efforts,” he said. “It’s better late than
For centuries, Europe collectively had the largest Jewish
population in the world. Today, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, North America
and Israel alone account for up to 90 percent of the global Jewish population,
with Europe’s share down to less than 10%.
In a press conference at the
Conrad Hotel held before the ceremony, Edelstein and Kantor spoke about the
relevance of the Holocaust to the current political situation in the Middle
“There’s some leader who says quite openly that he wants to finish
what a European dictator started years ago,” Edelstein said, alluding to Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Our lesson is to fight against genocide and
Sitting beside Edelstein, Kantor elaborated on the danger posed
by a nuclear Teheran to both Israel and the world.
“Some people think
it’s not so dangerous for Iran to have a bomb or two; maybe it’s better not to
attack Iran first,” Kantor warned. “This is why we cannot allow Holocaust
producers to go forward, and we fully support sanctions on Iran.”
the ceremony, survivors were called on to tell their stories and light candles
in memory of their loved ones who died in the Holocaust. Following the
conclusion of the ceremony, the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra performed the
repertoire of Alma Rosé, a violinist who died in Auschwitz on April 5, 1944.