The Chief Rabbi of the German city of Frankfurt, Avichai Apel, gave a speech commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day at a gathering of the European Commission in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock delivered addresses dedicated to the memory of the victims at the event. Other State representatives of the European Commission, as well as representatives of Jewish organizations and prominent European Rabbis, attended the gathering led by Strasbourg’s Chief Rabbi Abraham Weill.
Apel, who has served as Frankfurt’s Chief Rabbi since 2013 and also serves as Chairman of the German Rabbinic Organization, marked the proceedings with a powerful speech to commemorate the 78th International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th.
“On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I stand before you as a rabbi of Israel, an ancient Jew, whose existence goes back to when we became a nation 3,300 years ago,” Apel said. “From that same moment, antisemitism burst its poison forth, and the fundamental question whose echo persists, with its finger pointing at the conscience of the enlightened world, like the wrathful finger of a prosecutor, is why?”
“A wake-up call”
“International Holocaust Remembrance Day is not just another calendar event. It is an alarm clock, a wake-up call, and a road sign. It is a day cherished by the Jewish people, at the instruction of their great rabbis and the legislation of their Israeli Knesset. It is marked on Jewish calendars throughout the world,” Apel continued.
“International Holocaust Remembrance Day is not just another calendar event. It is an alarm clock, a wake-up call, and a road sign."Rabbi Avichai Apel
“On this day we remember our gratitude towards He that rescued us – the creator of the universe, alongside our public acknowledgment and gratitude to His messengers – the allied soldiers and the Righteous of the Nations of the world, who lay down their lives in a war against evil and darkness for the freedom of their people and the rescue of our people.”
Rabbi Apel concluded with a rallying cry against the toxic antisemitism that could make an atrocity like the Holocaust possible to begin with.
“As a representative of my nation, I call on you here today to be partners, so that no one can ever impose a price on us again; so that no other nation will pay such a price in the future. Together we will continue to apply the lessons learned from the Holocaust,” declared Apel.