PM sends a message on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Because of Shabbat, community activities to mark the day have been delayed until Sunday.

In the meantime, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sent the following message on this solemn day.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

She said: “On this day sacred to the memory of those murdered in the Holocaust, the people of Australia join with our friends in Israel and the worldwide Jewish community to mourn and reflect.

We recall how within living memory, a genocidal regime attempted to wipe an entire people from the face of the earth, costing six million lives, including 1.5 million children.

We mourn each of those who were lost and pledge to ensure that their names are never neglected but will always be upheld before the eyes of history.

We honour the resilience and dignity of those who survived and resisted, and we treasure them as precious witnesses for whom we, in turn, must become ‘witnesses of the witnesses’ as they pass on.

Above all, we embrace the most enduring message and duty to come from the Shoah: Never Again.

Never again must the evil of genocide be visited upon any nation or race. Never again must Jewish people live in fear or persecution.

Today and always, we remember.

The Honourable Julia Gillard Prime Minister of Australia…

Anna Berger, president of the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants told J-Wire: “Sixty seven years ago today, the Soviet Army entered the unspeakable horror that was Auschwitz Concentration Camp and liberated the few remaining inmates. Since then, the name ‘Auschwitz’ has become so synonymous with brutality that in November 2005 the United Nations General Assembly designated 27th of January as the ‘International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust’.

At 11am, Sunday 29 January, the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Descendants, together with the Sydney Jewish Museum, invite you to the commemoration of this milestone in history that foreshadowed the end of the Third Reich. Alan Rosenthal, Emmy winning documentary maker, will speak about Adolf Eichmann’s trial and what his diaries reveal before an audience that will include Diplomats representing 19 countries. As this year has been designated ‘The Year of Children in the Holocaust’, Litzi Lemberg, President of the Child Survivors’ Group, will introduce the story of Petr Ginz, a young Czech Jew, genius and Holocaust victim.

The executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim added: “January 27 is the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by Soviet troops.  It is a devastatingly appropriate day for all of us to remember and reflect upon the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of 6 million European Jews, 2 millions Gypsies (Roma and Sinti), 15.000 gays and millions of others at the hands of Nazi tyranny.

Auschwitz was not merely the final destination of many of these murdered men women and children.  In a very real and terrible way it continues to symbolise the final destination – the ultimate consequence – of hatred of the other that is allowed to go unchallenged.  The spectre of Auschwitz will continue to haunt the whole of humanity until it learns to free itself from the scourges of racism and other forms of hatred.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an opportunity for all of us to look inwards into our own hearts and minds and to resolve to confront our own prejudices.  For this is where racism and other forms of hatred begin.  No ideology of hatred can take root without the active participation or passive acquiescence of ordinary people.

We must never be afraid to speak out against hatred that is directed against ourselves, especially when it may be contentious or unpopular to do so.  Yet we must also be sensitive enough to recognise hatred that is being directed against others and to speak out in their defence too, even when it may be contentious or unpopular to do so.

The struggle against racism and other forms of bigotry is not easy.  Yet it has never been more necessary for all of us to be a part of it.  As the number of survivors diminishes with time, the need for us to pass on this message to our children only grows more urgent.


One Response to “PM sends a message on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day”
  1. Gedalia says:

    If Julia Gillard is true to her word “Never again must the evil of genocide be visited upon any nation or race. Never again must Jewish people live in fear or persecution.”, then why has her Government abstained from UN resolutions criticising Israel, and why is she permitting her foreign minister to walk all over her on this issue? Why does her Government sanction a “two state solution”, when the Palestinan Authority refuse to agree to a two state solution, and work towards the destruction of Israel as their stated aim?

    If the Government truely believed their statement then they would cast the rhetoric of their diplomacy aside and predicate any committment to a two state solution on recognition of Israel as a Jewish State by the Palestinian Authority. Without first receiving this, Australia is doing nothing more than contributing towards more Jewish genocide.

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