The victims of the Holocaust were honored on Wednesday in Bucharest in a commemorative ceremony attended by Israeli ambassador David Saranga, deputy and president of the Federation of the Romanian Jewish Communities (FCER) Silviu Vexler, and general director of the “Elie Wiesel” Institute, Alexandru Florian.
The three officials lit three candles at the Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust, each candle bearing the name of a Holocaust victim: Feigel Sokol, who died in the Kielce Ghetto – Poland, in 1942; Ephraim Trauman, who died at an unknown date in the Polish extermination camp in Treblinka; and Solomon Sokolover, who died in 1943 in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The participants emphasized that the memory of those killed must be kept alive, but also that extremism remains a threat even nowadays.
“This year Israel sent out candles all over the world, each carrying the name of someone killed during the Holocaust. It’s important to remember that when we talk about six million, we are talking about six million people each of whom had a name and a life of their own,” said the Israeli ambassador.
The diplomat stressed that the Holocaust commemoration day is a symbol not only for the Jewish people.
“This is an important day for everyone. We must always remember what happened during the Holocaust, but more importantly this is a message we have to send out, a message of tolerance, of multiculturalism. Every society needs to know what happened during the Holocaust. This must never repeat. That’s why we are here today,” said Saranga, according to Agerpres.
In his turn, Alexandru Florian pointed out that January 27 “is a day when not only do we remember the more than six million Jews, Roma, and mentally ill who died as innocent victims of the Second World War, but it is also a day when, beyond remembrance, beyond respect, we must be aware of the truth of nowadays – that in times of crisis, right-wing extremism is gaining traction.”
“All of us, the civil society from Romania and all over the world, must stay vigilant and careful that such acts never happen again,” said the director of the “Elie Wiesel” Institute.
Silviu Vexler spoke about the topicality of the extremist phenomenon.
“More than ever, in this period in which we see the increasingly insistent attempts to rehabilitate the legionary movement and especially the war criminals of the Holocaust times, such commemorations or such moments have acquired a particular significance. After all these years, after all the time that has passed, people tend to forget – if they knew and if they have not already forgotten – and it is essential that everything that happened remains alive, remains present in the people’s memory, so as not to allow such terrible moments in history to become the norm,” said the FCER president.
He went on to remark that this is “a time when all the people and the state in general, the politicians, must think about the support granted to the few survivors of the Holocaust who are still among us, which is a very special honor and a chance – a chance to understand how low mankind can stoop, but also how high it can soar, through the hope these people transmit every day.”
According to Vexler, there are about 2,000 Jewish and several hundred Roma Holocaust survivors in Romania.
January 27, 1945 is the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, therefore January 27 was designed as International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. According to Resolution 60/7 of 2005 of the UN General Assembly, the states are encouraged to commemorate Holocaust victims and to develop educational programs on the Holocaust.
Photo: Facebook/David Saranga