Holocaust Remembrance Day: education a crucial first step towards action
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is being marked on 27th January with this year’s theme, “Educating for a Better Future”.
GUE/NGL MEP Barbara Spinelli recalled that keeping alive the memory of past atrocities, knowing that the past can always come back, is the first step towards action against racism and intolerance:
“Memory is only useful if it is kept alive, being constantly alert and aware of the unending risks of lapsing back into past crimes. If we really want to remember the genocides of the last century we must continue to fight against any form of anti-Semitism, anti-gypsyism, homophobia and Islamophobia.”
The Italian MEP also remembered the victims of the Holocaust who are often marginalised in the historic discourse:
“On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we should seize the opportunity to recall, in a comprehensive way, the genocide perpetrated against the Roma and Sinti communities who continue to be discriminated and stigmatised in several European countries, as if their holocaust were less important. We should also remember the mass murder of gays and of the mentally ill.”
GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer, paid homage to those perished:
“We should always remind ourselves of the horrors of the Holocaust and remember the lives of the millions who were killed, tortured and physically and psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives due to their religion, skin colour, sexuality, political beliefs and ways of life.”
In view of a worrying rise of far-right parties and groups across Europe, Zimmer said that this commemoration gives us an opportunity “to analyse the circumstances which led to fascist and totalitarian ideas, and draw parallels between now and then. We must oppose with all our strength and democratic conviction the seeds of racism and fascism being planted in our societies.”
The German MEP cautioned about the current, dangerous climate facing Europe and urged for a united front against fascism:
“We must show to the people that discrimination, exclusion and violence will not achieve better living conditions or a better future. Participation, inclusion and democratic struggles must be the way forward. We reject any attempt to trivialise the horrors of the Holocaust in the way that is happening in some European countries and we oppose all forms of hate and incitement.”
“We must never forget how totalitarian and racist ideas led to the horrific mass exterminations in Europe – with Auschwitz and Buchenwald as the most recognised symbols. Today’s youths cannot learn directly from the victims of these atrocities anymore and so we must redouble our efforts to educate and remember during these dark times,” Zimmer concluded.