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Address on the International Day of Commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust

Strasbourg, Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Distinguished speakers, dear guests,

I am honoured to represent the Parliamentary Assembly today, and to express on behalf of all our parliamentarians from our 46 member States, Observer states and Partners for Democracy our deepest respect to the memory of all the victims who were lost during this darkest period of Europe’s history.

Today we commemorate the millions of people who became victims of the most infamous crime we ever have witnessed: the premeditated, carefully calculated and organised mass murder of human beings because of their religious beliefs, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or political views.

We named this crime Holocaust - but no words can accurately describe the essence and the magnitude of this crime against humanity.

So many years after this crime was committed, we are still confronted with the fact that this crime could happen. And therefore we cannot say: “never again” as a fact. We can only say it as a promise. To the victims who were massacred then, and to the generations to come, who should never ever become new victims of new atrocities.

Therefore, we have to ask especially the new generations to be involved in commemorations such as the one here today. By involving youth, amongst others through education, we can empower them with the lessons of the past to defeat intolerance, racism, hate and prejudice.

Let us commemorate the victims of the past.

This is important for them, but also for us today.

And let us never forget.