Ladies and gentlemen,
I am deeply moved to welcome all of you – the participants in the commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation.
With special respect I welcome former inmates of the camp and I am very glad to see them in good health so they could participate in this meeting.
I welcome representatives of liberating forces, former soldiers of the Red Army who sixty years ago with major Anatoly Shapiro opened the gates of the camp. I will be honored to decorate them today with high state distinctions on behalf of the Republic of Poland. I welcome veterans of World War Two, representatives of Oswiecim associations and Jewish organizations with members of the World Jewish Congress and European Jewish Congress whom I warmly thank for organization of this meeting together with the Polish Ministry of Culture.
I welcome youth from many countries who are nearly a half of all those gathered in this hall. Your participation in the ceremony linked with events that had taken place long before you were born is an evidence of inseparable links between successive generations of mankind and the heritage of forefathers. It is the evidence of respect and deep sense of co-responsibility for this heritage.
The day of January 27, 1945 finally put an end to the existence of the Nazi camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. That place was established out of hatred, cruelty and contempt for a human. This was the place where, in the name of insane ideology, people sentenced others to the most horrible fate. The place where the Jewish and Roma nations were to be finally exterminated, where Poles and prisoners from all over Europe were murdered. A stop to the criminal activity of the Nazis was put by the victory of the international forces united against the Hitlerite evil that wanted to rule the world. So we are very proud and glad to welcome here, among us, Mr. Moshe Katsav, the President of the State of Israel, a state built by the Jewish nation that survived the extermination. We are greeting Mr. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia. We believe he will be with us in a moment. We are remembering the role of the Red Army that liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, liberated and saved remarkable royal Cracow from the horrors of war. We are glad to have an opportunity to commemorate this occasion with the President of Ukraine, Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, whose father was a prisoner in this camp.
Today we – politicians, veterans, and young people – want to jointly testify to the fact that the memory of the reasons and circumstances of establishing the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau still lives and is present in the awareness of our nations. And we still consider it to be a painful lesson.
I am convinced that here in the Cracow-based theatre named after great Polish poet Juliusz Slowacki, on behalf of almost entire humanity, we express the desire that the evil of the past would never again triumph in the world on such a scale and that Auschwitz would never and nowhere repeat.
We wish well all people, we want peace, justice and security. And we know that such tragic events will never again repeat itself only in the world that remembers and draws proper conclusions from its history. A future free of hatred, racism and xenophobia, friendly to all of us and giving each and everyone a chance for development and cooperation can only be build in the world united by respect to a human being and concern for the well-being of every individual. Remembering the Holocaust and crimes committed in Auschwitz and Birkenau we feel obliged to closely monitor contemporary events. That is why we appeal to young people. We feel that the sad lesson taught to us by Nazi crimes has not yet been fully understood by humanity so we relate the truth about the tragedy and shame of the Holocaust here in Сraсow by quoting living witnesses of those events. The world abounds in pain and hatred, violence and cruelty. It shows excessive contempt for men. That is why this lesson has to be remembered and taught anew time and time again.
These are not mere slogans. Young people have been taught this truth with the help of numerous and serious initiatives taken by Poland, Israel and other countries, like the International Task Force on the Education on Holocaust or the European Educational Program on Holocaust Lessons for Teachers. These actions have long been carried out by Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim and Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem. They will be also developed by the International Education Centre in Oswiecim and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
We will not forget and we will not let future generations forget this incomprehensible act of a human being. The Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau will forever remain for us a symbol of human suffering, but we also hope, we believe that it will remain for us a symbol of human fortitude. We realize our responsibility for the justice of today and happiness of tomorrow for all the nations. We are taking actions and we promise to do everything to let life be given to people as Queen Ester from the Bible pleaded, her words being made the slogan of this meeting. Let life be given to people. I am addressing young people. I am looking at your faces and I know how you perceive this anniversary and that you realize the scale of the tragedy that took place 60 years ago. I believe that together we can build a better world where you, your children and my grandchildren will feel more secure. You will be able to concentrate on kind deeds. This world, the world of peace, the secure world will be the best way to pay homage, the best monument which we can offer to all those who had suffered and was killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Let’s do this.