European Parliament Marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day

26 January 2012 – David Peterson, reporting from Brussels

In a solemn ceremony at the European Parliament on January 24th, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the newly elected President of the Parliament, Martin Shulz (MEP Germany), spoke movingly to more than three hundred Jewish community representatives from throughout Europe, and the world, about the Holocaust tragedy. He stated: “I am deeply touched that one of my first official engagements as President will be opening the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament – a place that symbolises peace between former enemies. The Shoah is an incomparable unique tragedy and the most tragic case of genocide in the history of mankind. It is our duty to remember. We wish to remember for a purpose: to ensure that never again will evil prevail, as it did for the millions of innocent victims of Nazism.

“The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is being rightly marked and commemorated in the European Parliament. The European Union – whose citizens are represented in the Parliament of which I am the President – came into being in order to prevent any recurrence of the nightmare of war. I am proud that Sione Veil, a former extermination camp inmate, was the President of the first democratically elected European Parliament. This day not only represents a memorial day for the victims but also of the tragedy that derived from the procrastination in taking action. It is our duty as Europeans to ensure remembrance and to educate. Those who lived through the hell of the camps never forget. But there are less of them among us. The others – the younger generations – must not be allowed to forget. The further away we are from those events, the more the years pass, the more important remembrance becomes. 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.”

Also speaking at the ceremony were Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress; Jerzy Busek (MEP Poland), former President of the European Parliament; Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs; and Justice Gabriel Bach, Senior Prosecutor in the Adolph Eichmann Trial.