Holocaust Remembrance Day in many European countries

Seventy-seven years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, victims of the Holocaust are being commemorated in many European countries: the mass murder of millions of Jews and the conditions that made it possible are never to be forgotten. We are all called upon to counter anti-Semitism, commentators stress.

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Pravda (SK) /

The memory must never fade

Pravda heartily approves of the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

“When the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on 27 January 1945, few were aware of the scale of the human catastrophe. Even fewer could imagine the enormity of the industrial killing machine. ... After that it seemed that humanity had learned from this horror. Slogans against forgetting really meant something to those who lived through the war. To mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, Guterres reminded us that education should be the most important response to fading memories. Yes, it is our duty not to forget.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Everyone called upon to act

Holocaust Remembrance Day is also commemorated in Denmark. The passionate speeches and initiatives against anti-Semitism presented by ministries on this occasion should really be superfluous at this stage, Jyllands-Posten writes:

“The fact that people still need to be reminded of what anti-Semitism can lead to is outrageous. It's easy to doubt whether an action plan by the Ministry of Justice will have much impact, but of course it must be tried. Most importantly, however, is that it is up to all of us to take action against every form of anti-Semitism whenever we encounter it in our everyday lives. We owe it not only to the Jews of Denmark. We owe it to ourselves.”

Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

Intolerable comparisons

Author Alexia Weiss expresses her outrage at the parallels being drawn by some anti-vaxxers in a Wiener Zeitung blog about Jewish culture:

“'Jewish badges' like those of the Nazis with the words 'Unvaccinated' written on them have been seen at demonstrations for months now. ... In Austria as well as in Germany. A demonstrator carrying a banner featuring Hitler's silhouette and the words 'Vaccination makes you free' was recently seen at a rally at Vienna's Heldenplatz ... First of all, the term 'Jew' is not synonymous with 'victim'. But above all, those who draw such inappropriate comparisons here are belittling the suffering of the actual victims of that time. They are relativising the Holocaust. And that is not to be tolerated.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Time for a brave new world

Holocaust Remembrance Day must not just be a review of a dark past but must shine a new light on the future, Avvenire demands:

“A future in which Jews can live without fearing for their lives, as individuals and as a people. A future in which anti-Semitism and racism are a thing of the past. A future in which the collective consciousness has internalised the value of coexistence, of a welcoming culture and diversity, because we have all been a minority or a foreigner to someone at some point in the past. ... It's not just about remembering the past, but about committing to creating a different world. A world in which the seeds and premises that led to the hell of the Holocaust are banished.”