Romania’s Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu on Thursday toured the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, saying that it is essential for the 21st century’s young people to find the truth about the roots of the hatred, negative discrimination and intolerance that led to the tragedy of the Holocaust.
“Nowadays, we are perfectly aware of the troubled times we live in, where anti-Semitism, intolerance and hate instigating speech linger on. It is essential that we tell the 21st century’s young people the truth about this bleak time in the history of humankind, about the roots of hatred, negative discrimination and intolerance that led to the Holocaust tragedy, so that the young people may not lose their courage to prevent and fight against similar actions in the future,” Grindeanu said at the end of his Yad Vashem tour.
He added that courage and responsibility may make the difference between life and death.
“The commitment of us, the world’s nations, must be to remember the victims who died, respect the survivors and educate the new generations in a spirit of respect for human values, respect for diversity and inclusion,” said Grindeanu.
He also mentioned Elie Wiesel in the same context. “The entire world last year lost the big author born in Romania at Sighetu Marmatiei, Elie Wiesel. This Holocaust survivor continues to represent to us all an example of humanity and the model of a consistent defender of human rights,” said Grindeanu.
He added that his presence at the memorial is his homage to the Holocaust victims, Holocaust survivals and all those who played important parts in saving human lives.
“Our main concern with Holocaust remembrance should reflect in how we respect those who suffered and are still with us today at home or abroad. (…) Romania’s Parliament last year passed several amendments to the law concerning the return of property abusively confiscated by totalitarian regimes, giving priority to processing the applications by Holocaust survivors ,” said Grindeanu.
Grindeanu was at Yad Vashem together with some members of the delegation accompanying him on his official visit to Israel, namely Romanian Economy Minister Mihai Tudose, Defence Minister Gabriel Les, Minister for Romanians Abroad Andreea Pastirnac, and Chairman of the Romanian-Israeli parliamentary friendship group Gabriel Vlase.
Grindeanu visited the Hall of Names, which houses testimonies of 4.7 million Jews out of the 6 million who lost their lives to the Holocaust.
He also attended a ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance, a space dedicated to the Holocaust’s martyrs which floor tiles bear the names of concentration camps.
Grindeanu lit symbolically the Eternal Flame in the memory of the Holocaust victims and laid a wreath containing a ribbon in the colours of Romania’s national flag. The wreath was placed on a memorial slate covering the ashes of Holocaust victims. Opening the ceremony was a children’s choir. The event ended with a moment’s silence and a prayer.
At the end of the tour, Grindeanu signed the guestbook.
After the Yad Vashem tour, Grindeanu was welcomed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the Beit Hanassi presidential residence. He was also scheduled to meet his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu for one-on-one talks later in the day.