PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC, 26-27 JANUARY 2015
On 26-27 January 2015, the Fourth International “Let My People Live!” Forum was held in Prague and Terezín (Czech Republic) to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Several hundred distinguished guests, including heads of state, political leaders, members of parliament, diplomats, scholars and public figures from many countries, one of few surviving Auschwitz-Birkenau liberators Leonty Brandt, former prisoners of the concentration camps and Holocaust survivors attended the event.
The two-day event consisted of two major parts, the Forum of World Civil Society held at Prague Castle and the commemorative ceremony in Terezín, focused on remembering the past and reflecting on the present at a time when rising anti-Semitism and intolerance pose a threat not only to the survival of Jewish communities in Europe, but also to the security of Europe as a whole.
The Forum, organised by the European Jewish Congress and the World Holocaust Forum Foundation with the European Parliament and its President Martin Schulz, was attended by over 900 guests, including 30 official delegations and representatives of parliaments, European heads of state and international celebrities, experts and scholars, who gathered together at Prague Castle to participate in three discussion panels focused on anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and religious radicalism.
Well-known U.S. human rights activist Abraham Foxman, historian and Yale University professor Timothy David Snyder, French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, head of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Cemil Çiçek, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania Valeriu Zgonea and other preeminent individuals attended the Forum’s first day. Russia was represented by Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov and President of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations Vladimir Yakunin.
President of European Jewish Congress Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament Jan Hamáček and President of the Czech Senate Milan Štěch addressed the audience.
On 27 January 2015, Czech President Miloš Zeman hosted the final session of the Forum and official ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust’s victims. The National Philharmonic of Russia, 98 musicians under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov, performed the Yellow Stars concerto for orchestra by Isaac Schwartz accompanied by video about the Holocaust history. After the on-line minute of silence linking three other concentration camps, guests were invited to participate in the commemorative ceremony in Teresienstadt, a concentration camp that served as a transit station on the way to other death camps. Teresienstadt inmates included many musicians, composers, cartoonists and poets, who maintained their art by publishing Vedem magazine. World-famous cantor Joseph Malovany and Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley performed during the ceremony.
At the conclusion of the Fourth International Holocaust Forum, participants adopted a Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism and Hate Crimes.