yad vashem 88.
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"Finally after 60 years, the Holocaust has been accepted in Europe as being the horrible genocide that they themselves committed," said Avner Shalev, Director of Yad Vashem, commenting on the significance of the first ever International Day of Commemoration for Holocaust Victims.
"Hopefully, this new awareness and attention to the Holocaust will lead to a strengthening of those groups currently leading the struggle against anti-Semitism, a rejection of those groups both within Europe but also within the Muslim world who question the extent or even the existence of the Holocaust, and to a strong education of the youth of the world about the horror of genocide and the hate that leads to it," Shalev added.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director of the Simon Weisental Center in Jerusalem, said that Friday's events were important in recognizing the universal condemnation of the atrocities committed in the Holocaust and in educating future generations in order to prevent another such occurance.
"There's no question that the establishment of such a day throughout the world is incredibly important for education programs," Zuroff said. "Of course it remains to be seen whether the intentions of such a day continue to evolve, and it will take a few years until we can get a sense as to whether this being implemented and to what extent."
According to Beate Winkler, Director of the EU's European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the annual commemoration would help in the fight against racism in the world. "The memory of the Holocaust must be transmitted from generation to generation, so as to sensitize also future generations to the ultimate danger that can come from any form of racism. It is therefore important to publicly condemn all acts of intolerance and incitement to racial hatred, as well as all acts of harassment or racist violence, as it is the task of the EUMC."
Shalev concurred that the day would have positive ramifications for the worldwide fight against anti-Semitism and racism.
"It wasn't just the Nazis or one country that was behind the Holocaust, but many people from many countries. Even now, when we have a country that threatens to destroy another country, the world has to take to heart the lessons of the previous genocide in order to prevent the type of rhetoric and hate that can lead to another one. I feel that the world has the strength to do this."