The ambassadors of EU and all EU Member States in Israel issued a joint statement on Wednesday on the occasion of the opening ceremony of Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day. The ambassadors joined President Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Holocaust survivors at the ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem.
“We bow our heads, remembering with heavy hearts the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust by the Nazis in the darkest days of European history,” says the statement. “We reaffirm our duty and responsibility never to forget.”
This year’s ceremonies are linked to the marking of Israel’s 70 years of independence.
“The memory of the Holocaust has not only been shaped by the horrific suffering of the Jewish people, but also by the remarkable story of the State of Israel,” continues the statement.
“The Holocaust survivors who are still among us are a living memorial both to the horrors of the Shoah but also to their perseverance, creativity and endeavour in developing the state which welcomed them from across war-torn Europe.”
The statement ends with the ambassadors reiterating “their duty and responsibility to fight those who deny that these atrocities ever happened”.
“We stand together to combat antisemitism, which continues to undermine the security of our Jewish citizens and threatens the very core of our values. The European Union is committed to fight unremittingly against all forms of antisemitism.”
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said at the ceremony that “We do not expect European countries to pass on to the younger generation a sense of guilt. However, we do expect and demand that they pass on the torch of memory and responsibility.”
In an apparent reference to Poland, Rivlin stated that no country can “legislate the forgetting” of Jews murdered during the Holocaust. But he also made a tacit remark against his own government.
“The Jewish people will always bear the banner of the struggle against anti-Semitism and racism,” he stated. “No political, diplomatic or economic interest can cause us to turn a blind eye to them — neither in Europe nor anywhere else.”