Europe commemorates the Holocaust


Former Auschwitz prisoners gathering at the Nazi death camp was among numerous Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations in Europe.

Sunday’s event in the Polish town of Oswiecim, on the third annual commemoration day created by the United Nations General Assembly, took place on the 63rd anniversary of the camp’s liberation by Soviet troops.

“Let remembrance of this serve as a shield that will protect us and generations to come against resentment, hate, aggression, racism and anti-Semitism,” said Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, a representative of Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Also Sunday, Jewish communities in Ukraine lit candles and observed a minute of silence to honor the 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims, including 1.5 million Jews killed in Ukraine. It culminated four days of performances and exhibits in Kiev co-hosted by The Jewish Foundation of Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Association of Jews-Former Concentration Camps and Ghetto Prisoners, and the Jewish Council of Ukraine.

On Friday in the German Bundestag’s annual Holocaust commemoration, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of today’s Germans overcoming their fears of discussing the past. Parliament President Norbert Lammert said it is shameful that 63 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, German Jewish institutions are not safe, referring to reported Islamist threats recently that spurred the institutions to boost security.

Also Friday, the U.N. office in Vienna held a remembrance ceremony at the Rotunda of the Vienna International Center featuring the Vienna Jewish Choir performing for delegates from around the world. Also that day the Czech Senate, president and prime minister marked the Holocaust with ceremonies.

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, will address the European Parliament in Brussels Monday as it commemorates the Holocaust. Also Monday, more than 1,600 people, including genocide survivors, are expected to attend a service at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall to mark the day in England.


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