Following the vote of the European Council to adopt the "Program to Combat Anti-Semitism and Cultivate Jewish Life," as defined by the IHRA, a special event was held to mark the "Day of Liberation and Rescue" in Strasbourg, France.
For the first time since World War II, representatives of the 46 member states of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council held a special event marking the 77th anniversary of the "Day of Liberation and Rescue" from the Nazis.
The event was sponsored by Gabriel German Zachreib and under the auspices of the European Rabbinical Conference on the Hebrew date of the surrender of the Third Reich in France.
This comes after dozens of prayer rallies and events that were held on the 26th of Iyar under the "Generation to Generation" slogan, to mark the "Day of Liberation and Rescue" in twenty-five countries.
The event was opened by the rabbi of the Hemdat Shlomo congregation in Strasbourg, Rabbi Mendel Samma, who explained the essence of the initiative to mark 'Liberation and Rescue Day' and the importance of setting it on the Hebrew date.
"The vote today before the event is further proof of the EU determination, created in the shadow of Auschwitz, to ensure that such atrocities can never occur again," The Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Chair of the French Delegation, Nicole Grace-Tris, who hosted the event, said.
"High words are not enough, they need to be implemented in deeds. This is a plan of action, describing the concrete steps we are going to take," she continued.
"High words are not enough, they need to be implemented in deeds. This is a plan of action, describing the concrete steps we are going to take.Nicole Grace-Tris
The special event ended on a high note, with the song "Oseh Shalom Bimromav" (Making Peace in His Heavens) and the lighting of the three candles by the President of the Consistory in Strasbourg and the Lower Rhine region Maurice Dahan and members of the French delegation.
Antisemitism, old and new
"Unfortunately, antisemitism, the oldest hatred, is expanding. The corona[virus pandemic] has shown how antisemitic and old prejudices can resurface. Holocaust denial or gross contempt is criminal in the European Union, and all its member states are obliged to include this prohibition in their national laws and ensure the cultivation and protection of Jewish life," Grace-Tris said.
"Human consciousness has changed in our generation, and today we are all trying to recalculate a life trajectory and build a new value system. But all the difficulties we experience today seem meaningless when we recall a time when the world was sucked into war, and the “chosen people” became a target of cruel extinction," Initiator of the "Day of Liberation and Rescue," Mr. Gabriel German Zakhareev said.
"Year after year, Holocaust survivors leave us. It is our duty to pass on to the new generations the memory of what they experienced and what price they had to pay for our better future. We must thank G-D for the miracle of salvation and express our gratitude to all who were involved in saving them," Zakhareev concluded.