Sir, President of Poland, Your Excellencies, Heads of State, Mr. Moshe Kantor – Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Jewish Congress. I thank you, President of Poland, for this conference that marks the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. I praise Mr. Moshe Kantor on his actions for the commemoration events.
The Holocaust changed the order of Creation, since then this is a different world, a changed world.
The human language is insufficient to describe the Nazi atrocities.
The Holocaust is not only a tragedy for the Jewish people, it is a failure for humanity. The Holocaust stands too close in the recent past to be relegated to history; however, the Holocaust was an event that shaped the lives of the Jewish people. The Jewish people will forever mourn the victims of the Holocaust. The lessons of the Holocaust must also direct the ways of mankind.
We are worried that humanity will not pass on understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons to future generations, so we – together with you – are tasked with the essential mission of ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust will be passed on to the next generations, from generation to generation.
Through this, we may be able to save future generations from experiencing what occurred in this cursed place, Auschwitz-Birkenau, sixty years ago.
We must promise that from here also, a better future can arise.
This year, for the first time, Auschwitz is part of the European Union. Together with Poland, Auschwitz must be situated in the heart of the collective historic memory of the New Europe.
The European continent was wise enough to reconcile historic enemies, establish peace, and build a shared political and economic roof over twenty-five nations. The United Europe is obligated to take with it the memory of Auschwitz-Birkenau to the future that it is building. Europe owes this to the millions of European Jews, to the millions of fighters, and it owes this to itself, it owes this to its ideals, the values with which they are forming and educating the younger generations.
We can pass on to future generations the lessons of the Holocaust only if this horrible place called Auschwitz remains in the consciousness of humanity, in the historic memory, remains on the map of ethical commitment, because if we do not stand guard in every generation, the Holocaust might reoccur.
Human innocence is weaker than wickedness and demagoguery. Evil and wicked creations are stronger than the humane beliefs and values, and democracies are not, to our dismay, immune from wickedness and tyranny.
The story of the fighting and the role of Jewish soldiers in the armies of the Allies and of partisans, in achieving victory over Nazi Germany during World War II, is a chapter of unknown valor and one of darkest periods in the history of mankind. High ranking Jewish commanders, Jewish warriors on the field of battle who earned medals of honour and merits of valor, Jews that contributed to the development of weapons, volunteers from the Jewish Yishuv in the land of Israel to the British Army.
The Jewish people lost one third of its sons, 6,000,000 Jews in the Holocaust. 1,500,000 sons of the Jewish people enlisted in order to battle the enemy. Jews battled in the armies of many nations for a just and righteous cause. Therefore, I would like to commemorate the contributions of the Jewish warriors who battled and who were partners in the victory and to honor the memories of the 250,000 Jewish warriors who fell martyrs in World War II. I would like to commemorate the brave story of the Partisans and the Jewish warriors of the Ghettos that battled against the Nazis and were a paragon of daring and determination. I would like to commemorate the approximately 40,000 men, about 10% of the small Jewish Yishuv in the land of Israel during World War II, who joined the British and Polish Armies in the war against the deadly Nazi foe.
I call to young people around the entire world: you are the hope of humanity. Create fruitful dialogues among the youth of all nations in order to promise a better future based on universal human values.
Rebel against all occurrences of racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.
We fear anti-Semitism, we fear Holocaust denial, we fear the distorted view that European young people might have of their past. We call to the European Union: don’t let the Nazis dwell in the imaginations of the young generation as an amusing horror show! German soldiers that shot children in the valleys of death, S.S. officers who shoved naked people into the gas chambers.
The State of Israel does not forget the thousand years of Jewish-European co-existence, a thousand agonizing but fruitful years. However, we also do not forget the horrific end of European Jewry at the hands of Nazi Germany and the inspiration of European anti-Semitism. If the State of Israel had risen up only a few years earlier, we would have surely prevented the massacre of the victims of the Holocaust.
The Plan of Extermination flourished on the ground of anti-Semitism during the course of decades that extended through Europe. The Nazis saw the anti-Semitism that was deeply rooted in the consciousness of the people of Europe.
Even today, sixty years after the Holocaust, we find it difficult to believe that in the 20th century the world was quiet in the face of the extermination of the Jewish people. The Allies coordinated a mighty force against the Germans. We owe them our thanks. But they did not stop the Holocaust, the extermination of the Jewish people. The gates of the United States, the gates of numerous nations, and the gates of the land of Israel were blocked to the Jews that appealed for refuge from the arms of the Nazis. The Free World knew of the Nazi atrocities, the Allies knew of the extermination of the Jewish people. The Allies did not take steps to prevent the extermination of Jews of Europe. It was possible to save hundreds of thousands of Jews from the gas chambers. The work of exterminating Jews continued at full momentum even when it was already apparent that the Allies were going to win. Many hundreds of Allied bomber sorties flew in the vicinity of Auschwitz, and some even flew over Auschwitz, but Auschwitz was never in the targets of attack.
The bombing of the railroad tracks that led to the extermination camps, during the course of so many sorties, could have ended the extermination of the Jews.
The Germans knew that they were defeated, but they sped up the extermination of Jews.
I believe in the leaders of the Free World; we have shared ideals and objectives, we have shared values and beliefs. We must stand united and firm and prevent mankind from further tragedies like the Holocaust. May the victims be of blessed memory.