The European Jewish Congress (EJC) and the European Parliament will hold the
first annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day Event in Brussels on
The entrance of this event into the official European Union
calendar is due to the cooperation and coordination between the EJC and European
Parliament President Martin Schulz.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, the president of
the European Jewish Congress, will open the event.
“I am delighted that,
with our partners in the European Parliament, we have managed to place such an
important event on the official EU calendar,” Kantor said.
memorialization is a massive undertaking, not least in a time when Holocaust
survivors are becoming fewer and anti- Semitism and intolerance is
“Furthermore,” he said, “with the political gains of the
far-right and neo-Nazi parties in European parliaments, the fact that this event
is warmly embraced by the most prominent European institutions sends a strong
message against hate, racism and anti-Semitism.”
Schulz will also speak
at the event, along with Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the European
Commission, Alan Shatter, Irish minister for Justice, Equality and Defense,
Samuel Pisar, honorary ambassador and special envoy of UNESCO for Holocaust and
Genocide Education and Prof. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Polish secretary of state
and the plenipotentiary of the prime minister for international
“I am deeply touched that we are commemorating the
International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament once more, a
location that is highly symbolic of peace and reconciliation between former
arch-enemies,” said Schulz.
“It is an honor for the institution that I
lead to mark this day in such a dignified manner.
“The Holocaust must
always be fresh in our minds and souls, in the conscience of humanity, and
should serve as an incontrovertible warning for all time: Never again!” The
theme of the event is a tribute to the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising,
whose struggle took place 70 years ago, and to Swedish diplomat Raoul
Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
A new room
in the European Parliament in honor of Wallenberg will be inaugurated by Cecilia
Malmström, the EU commissioner for Home Affairs.
The event will be
attended by MEPs, ambassadors to the European Union, other highlevel
dignitaries, Holocaust survivors and members of Wallenberg’s
Kantor is expected to speak at the event about the greater need
for combatting racism and intolerance, and will draw a parallel between the
situation today and the 1920s and ’30s in Europe before the rise of
“From the late 1920s all the way through to the gas chambers of
Auschwitz, most of Europe chose to excuse the fact that populations facing
economic hardship could be bought off by scapegoating minorities, by turning
inwards to the hatred of the other,” Kantor said. “This all sounds too
“Today, amid economic turbulence on this continent, national
parliaments contain increasing numbers of racists and anti-Semites.
it is to the immense shame of all of us that this European Parliament also
contains such people.”
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