On the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance for Holocaust Victims, the “Elie Wiesel” Institute on Monday organized a wreath-laying ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest . The event was attended by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Education, Bogdan Aurescu and Sorin Cimpeanu, the Minister for Diaspora of Israel, Nachman Shai (photo L), the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, Deputy Silviu Vexler, Ambassador of Israel to Romania, David Saranga (photo R).
Klaus Iohannis: Project on the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust – unjustifiably blocked
President Klaus Iohannis sent a message on Monday on the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance for Holocaust Victims, calling on all responsible political actors to act decisively against any attempts to divide, in the context of the pandemic of COVID-19, and regarding the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust, he calls on the Government to “take serious steps”.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic situation, in addition to the deep health crisis, has favored manifestations of hatred, indifference, intolerance, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. In this context, online communication has become the most important and widespread tool, an environment in which misinformation, hate speech and fake news spread very easily and fueled feelings of mistrust and insecurity. Hundreds of people die every day and others are agonizing in intensive care units due to infection with this terrible virus we are dealing with. Many are the victims of cynical conspiracy and populist fanatics who propagate toxic ideas against vaccination, which is a direct attack on humanity. Let us not remain indifferent in the face of this momentum that risks crushing the foundation of our democracy,” says the head of state in the message sent by the state councilor Catalina Galer, during the commemoration ceremony of the Holocaust victims organized at the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest.
The head of state emphasizes that such demonstrations are absolutely intolerable and that each of us has a duty to “swiftly, harshly and firmly sanction any slippage” and to defend “fundamental rights and freedoms, democracy and European values.”
“I call on all responsible political actors to act resolutely against any attempt at division, to be directly and concretely involved in promoting the values of tolerance, respect and diversity in our society and to support Holocaust knowledge education.”
In connection with the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania, the head of state finds that the project has accumulated delays and is unjustifiably blocked, considering that this situation is unacceptable.
“I call on the Government to take serious steps and take all steps to build this museum. It is imperative that we have this institution as soon as possible, which will keep the memory of the Holocaust alive in the national consciousness and maintain a deep attachment to the fundamental values of humanity. With the thought of the sufferings of innocent souls and those of our survivors, of acting together and in solidarity to defend and promote democratic principles and values,” he says.
President Iohannis states that “the hard lesson of the Holocaust must function as a beacon to guide us on our European path, and we must cherish and honor the few survivors that time allows.”
“Today we pay a pious tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and honor the survivors of the most heinous deployment of criminal forces for the extermination of their fellow human beings in history. For all the innocent lives taken – grandparents, parents, spouses, sons and daughters – and to the families and their descendants, we reaffirm our commitment not to allow oblivion to linger over their suffering and sacrifice and to strongly oppose the repetition of such a tragedy. Remembering and honoring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust is a fundamental duty of the Romanian state. Exactly eight decades ago, the forced deportation of Romanian Jews to TransDniester began, a campaign in which 120,000 Jews traveled a path of death: torture, famine, disease, inhumane conditions in which they were forced to live, dispossession of any kind of property, rights and dignity, under the constant threat of death, represented the set of measures by which the regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu had set out to liquidate those he considered ‘undesirable’,” the head of state claims.
According to President Iohannis, “crimes must be known, criminals must be exposed to public disgrace, the memory of victims must be preserved, and we must support survivors and their descendants.”
“It is necessary to honestly assume the traumatic past and speak openly to the younger generations about the Holocaust. Only in this way will we be able to fight against attempts to falsify history, increasingly frequent attempts to rehabilitate criminals and deny the suffering of innocent victims,” said the head of state.
PM Citu: Romania has a fundamental moral duty to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust victims
Romania has a “fundamental” moral duty to preserve the memory of Holocaust victims in our country, interim Prime Minister Florin Citu said on Monday in a message on the occasion of the National Day of Commemoration of Holocaust Victims in Romania.
“Today marks eight decades since the beginning of the deportation of Romanian Jews from southern Bucovina to Transdniester, an episode that is part of the dark events of the Holocaust in which the Romanian authorities in the 1940s, under the coordination of the Antonescu regime, were fully involved. Romania has a fundamental moral duty to keep alive for eternity the memory of the victims, to offer support to their descendants, and also to the survivors, those last witnesses of the Holocaust in Romania,” Citu said.
His message was presented by the Government’s special representative for the Promotion of Memory Policies, Combating Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, Alexandru Muraru, at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial, organized on Monday by the “Elie Wiesel” Institute.
According to the prime minister, the authorities and society as a whole have a duty to remove ignorance, forgetfulness, and disinterest in the tragic events of national history, and “ignoring evil or passivity in the face of abuses and iniquities has contributed to the greatest tragedy that humanity has ever gone through.”
Florin Citu added that there were “in those terrible moments, where death was everywhere, compatriots who understood, risking everything, that the life of a fellow man is invaluable regardless of his ethnicity or religion.” “And they, the Righteous Among the Nations from Romania, recognized today by the State of Israel, must be honored,” he pointed out.
The prime minister said he was “outraged” by the presence of “extremist parties” in Parliament.
“Today I am all the more outraged when I see extremist parties in the Romanian Parliament when I see how symbols of Holocaust victims are trivialized in public protests and when the history of the Holocaust is relativized or denied. All these inadmissible slips are a signal that the state institutions’ effort to protect the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the fight against extremism must continue resolutely. I am determined to do everything I can in this regard,” he said.
In his view, there is a need for more coordination and institutional strengthening, but also for new tools to stimulate Holocaust education.
He mentioned that a special representative of the Government for Combating Anti-Semitism was appointed and in May this year the first National Strategy for preventing and combating anti-Semitism, xenophobia, radicalization, and hate speech for 2021-2023 was adopted.
“Starting these days, a new inter-ministerial committee composed of representatives of civil society institutions and organizations will begin working to implement the strategy to educate the younger generation about the dangers of anti-Semitism and xenophobia, to promote tolerance of others and to prevent or sanction acts of anti-Semitism, xenophobia or those associated with radicalization and hate speech,” Florin Citu pointed out.
Compiled from Agerpres
Photo: Facebook/David Saranga