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Speech by the Minister Jan Lipavský on the Holocaust Remeberance Day

 

Prague, January 25, 2024

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour to address you on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Today we remember the six million innocent children, women and men of Jewish origin who were tortured or murdered in Auschwitz, Majdanek, Mauthausen, Terezín, Treblinka and other extermination and concentration camps in various parts of Europe.

We also commemorate the hundreds of thousands of innocent Roma and Sinti and all the other victims who were murdered by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.

The tragedy of the Holocaust is one of the darkest page in the modern history of human kind.  It is our duty to ensure that it is never forgotten.

As we commemorate 79 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, only a handful of those who witnessed the horrors of the Nazi remain still with us. We should take this opportunity to hear their testimonies and pass them on to future generations. Let us learn from horrors they endure. We shall never again ignore manifestations of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism. Prejudice and hatred of the other shall not have place in our societies, whether it is happening in the physical world or online.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

we are living in challenging times, the geopolitical landscape is moving. Even those who should be its guardians are openly contesting and violating the UN Chapter negotiated in the aftermath of the horrors of the Second World War. Let us not be afraid to take responsibility and stand up for its defence. We must stand together against those who commit war crimes, ethnic violence and crimes against humanity.

It has been almost two years since Russia brutally attacked Ukraine, its neighbour that possessed no danger to it.  The war broke out in the immediate proximity of our borders. The suffering of the victims of war crimes in Buchi, Irpin and other Ukrainian towns brought back to us the horrors of the Second World War.

Three months ago, we were all horrified by the gruesome images of Hamas terrorists killing and kidnaping hundreds of civilians, including woman and children, in communities around Gaza. We mourn for all the innocent victims and pray for those who remain in captivity.

Those tragic events remind us of the burden of trauma that the Holocaust left on individuals, whole families and nations. Sometimes we feel helpless, but we should persist. Let us not hesitate to confront evil. Let us fight for our values and stand in solidarity with those who face injustice.

 

Together, let us defend and shape a democratic world in which we can live in peace and freedom, and which we can pass on to future generations.

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