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75th Years — Auschwitz

UN Exibit on 75 Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (Photo by Erol Avdović, Webpublicapress UN, January 2020)

photo with (r-l) Ambassador Danon, Irene Shabbat, and Shraga Milstein (Credit: Israeli Mission to the UN)

UN Exibit on 75 Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (Photo by Erol Avdović, Webpublicapress UN, January 2020)

UN Exibit on 75 Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (Photo by Erol Avdović, Webpublicapress
UN, January 2020)

WEBPUBLICAPRESS – United Nations – New York – The United Nations on Monday marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a special session of the UN General Assembly with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attending. A central commemoration was held at UN Headquarters.

Also in New York the president of 75th Session of UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad Bande talked on this commemorating day. After listening to Ms. Irene Shashar and Mr. Shraga Milstein, two Holocaust survivors, who addressed the UN event Mr. Bande said their “reminiscences energize our collective consciousness for a more inclusive, peaceful and harmonious global community that encourages unity in diversity.”

“The chilling account of their experiences should serve as a reminder to all of us that we need to do more for humanity to ensure that we continue to promote respect for individual human beings and multilateralism as a potent instrument for resolving conflicts and avoiding acts and of contrivances that could lead to dehumanizing others, leading to heinous crimes such as the Holocaust,” UNGA President said.

photo with (r-l) Ambassador Danon, Irene Shabbat, and Shraga Milstein (Credit: Israeli Mission to the UN)

photo with (r-l) Ambassador Danon, Irene Shabbat, and Shraga Milstein (Credit: Israeli Mission to the UN)

Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dany Danon also talked at the UN, saying “we are thelast generation to have the privilege of learning about the Holocaust from those who had to endure its atrocities.”

“And when memory starts to fade, so does the ability to believe that an event like the Holocaust really occurred. It becomes harder to believe the human race is capable of such evil.”

Calling anti-Semitism  ”a deadly disease that must be eradicated,” Danon made comparison between “hollow statements” and lack of action: in the 1930s:”The leaders of the world may have denounced anti-Semitism, but that is all they did. That wasn’t enough. It is not enough to condemn antisemitism. It is time to act against antisemitism.”

He said, world “must find a cure for those affected by it today, and we must vaccinate our populations so that no one will have to suffer its fatal consequences in the future.”

Every day new attack 

Addressing UN Memorial Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that almost every day brings new reports of hate crimes with anti-Semitism at its pick in America and, “the situation for Jews in Europe is, if anything, worse.”

France saw a 74 percent increase in antisemitic attacks in 2018. In the United Kingdom, they rose by 16 percent to a record high. Gutteress mentioned an attack on a synagogue in the German town of Halle during Yom Kippur last October. And, Italy, where “an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor was provided with an armed escort after she suffered a torrent of antisemitic abuse.”

Mentioning recent examples Mr. Guterres said  New York saw a 21 percent rise in antisemitic hate crimes in 2019, which is “part of a trend in cities across the United States.”

UN chief said international community “need to name this phenomenon for what it is: there is a

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres talking to the Holocaust survivor at the Auschwitz Liberation Day event at the United Nations in New York, 21 January 2020 (Photo by Erol Avdović Webpublicapress).

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres talking to the Holocaust survivor at the Auschwitz Liberation Day event at the United Nations in New York, 21 January 2020 (Photo by Erol Avdović Webpublicapress).

global crisis of antisemitic hatred; a constant stream of attacks targeting Jews, their institutions and property,”Webpublicapress reported form UN.

Other commemorations

Last week Missions of Russian Federation and Israel organized special exhibition to reflect on horrible stories from this notorious Nazi concentration death camp sharing also the memories of Holocaust survivors, as Webpublicapress reported. 

In Europe hundreds of Holocaust survivors joined delegates from world governments at the Auschwitz concentration camp to mark this day. And Jewish groups urged Germany to do more to combat anti-Semitism, DW (Deutsche Welle) reported. Over 200 Holocaust survivors and delegates from more than 50 countries will gather at the site of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.

Also see RFE story: How Albanians saved Jews in WW2 (klick here).

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with three survivors in Berlin in the morning before travelling together to the site of the camp in Poland.

The President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, told DW that “speeches are not enough to stop anti-Semitism.” He blamed the internet for spreading hate against Jews, and called for greater legislation to police hate crime.

“We have to stop that. Unfortunately most governments just talk, they don’t do it,” he said.

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“Speeches are not going to stop anti-Semitism. Action will.”

In an interview with DW, President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, urged the world leaders to fight anti-Semitism with stronger laws.

‘Truth about the Holocaust must not die’

The commemoration will be hosted by Polish President Andrzej Duda, although the main speeches at the event will be given by Holocaust survivors.

Read more: Auschwitz’s harrowing history

“We must forge the future of the world based on a profound understanding of what happened more than 75 years ago in the heart of Europe, and what eyewitnesses continue to relate to us,” Duda wrote in a statement issued ahead of the event.

The truth about the Holocaust must not die. We will not cease in our efforts to make the world remember this crime. So that nothing of the kind would ever happen again,” Duda wrote.

The ceremony will take place in front of the infamous “Gate of Death,” which victims passed through before being murdered.

Conserving the memory of the horrors of Auschwitz

Fight against anti-Semitism

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, where millions of Jews and members of other minorities perished during the Second World War. 18 November 2013 /UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, where millions of Jews and members of other minorities perished during the Second World War. 18 November 2013 /UN Photo – Evan Schneider

Among the survivors will be representatives from the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, and several European countries. Israeli President Reuven Revlin will also be present, less than a week after hosting the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, which President Steinmeier also attended.

Royalty from Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands will be in attendance, as well as a Russian delegation. The Soviet Russian Red Army liberated the camp in January 1945.

The commemoration will take place amid concerns of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world.

Read more: Opinion: Do Jews have a future in Europe?Photo of people standing beside railroad tracks in 1944, guarded by SS members (Holokauszt Emlékközpont, Budapest )

  • THE DIARY OF AN AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR

    Deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau

    When the Nazis occupied Hungary in March 1944, the Jewish population lost their rights, were persecuted, deported and finally murdered. Sheindi Ehrenwald, 14 at the time, took notes about it all, including her deportation and life in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp — which she wrote at the risk of her life. Almost her entire family was killed by the Nazis.

“When you have a small infection on your finger, you do not wait until your entire hand has gangrene to fight the infection. The same is true for anti-Semitism,” Poland’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich said ahead of the ceremony.

More than 1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland before it was liberated in January 1945.

(Webpublicapress with other media sources 2020;

edited by E. Avdović)

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