RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Brazil’s president attended two ceremonies to memorialize the Holocaust.
Wearing a yarmulke, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva joined governors, mayors and several other Jewish and non-Jewish officials at the events to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
It was the fourth time Lula joined such ceremonies.
"I feel personally involved with this date. We must keep the remembrance alive in order to prevent a mass murder to repeat ever again," Lula said at the Beit Yaacov synagogue in Sao Paulo after lighting a menorah.
For Claudio Lottenberg, the president of Brazil’s Jewish umbrella organization Conib, "Lula’s presence has a huge symbolic value. Brazil has always kept deep ties with its Jewish community."
Lula’s attendance at both events follows a recent polemic statement of his Labor Party comparing Israel’s attacks on Gaza to Nazi practices.