The European Parliament is to hold hold the first ever official annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Brussels on 22 January, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has announced. The entrance of this event into the official European Union calendar is due to the cooperation and coordination between the EJC and the European Parliament President Martin Schulz. In previous years, it was the EJC that hosted the event on the premises of the European assembly in Brussels, with the participation of European officials.
EJC President Moshe Kantor said: “I am delighted that, with our partners in the European Parliament, we have managed to place such an important event on the official EU calendar. Remembering the Holocaust is a massive undertaking, not least in a time when survivors are becoming fewer and anti-Semitism and intolerance are rising. Furthermore, with the political gains of the far-right and neo-Nazi parties in European parliaments, the fact that this event is warmly embraced by the most prominent European institutions sends a strong message against hate, racism and anti-Semitism.”
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, will host the event for the first time and address the gathering, as will European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter, Samuel Pisar, special envoy of UNESCO for Holocaust and genocide education, and Władysław Bartoszewski, Polish secretary of state in the Foreign Ministry.
“I am deeply touched that we are commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament once more, a location that is highly symbolic of peace and reconciliation between former arch-enemies,” Schulz said about the event. “The Holocaust must always be fresh in our minds and souls, in the conscience of humanity, and should serve as an incontrovertible warning for all time: Never again!”
The theme of this year’s event is a tribute to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters, whose struggle began 70 years ago, and to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. A new Raoul Wallenberg Room will be inaugurated by Cecilia Malmstrצm, EU commissioner for home affairs who is Swedish.
The EJC is the regional affiliate of the World Jewish Congress in Europe.