Ceremony to Mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (anglais uniquement)
Strasbourg, mardi 28 janvier 2020

Ladies and Gentlemen,

75 years ago, the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liberated by the Soviet army. The world discovered the truth about the most infamous crime humankind has ever witnessed - a premeditated, carefully calculated and organised mass murder of human beings on the ground of their religious beliefs, ethnic origin, political views or sexual orientation.

Today, as every year, we pay tribute to the memory of 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

We pay tribute to the memory of millions of other people who lost their lives – members of minority groups such as Roma and Travellers, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, prisoners of war and political prisoners.

We pay our respects to those few who survived the Holocaust. By courageously telling their stories they keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

We also recall those who bravely resisted the Holocaust and fought the Nazi regime.

This Ceremony started with the Partisans’ song which was inspired by the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

For me, it has a particular meaning because my grandfather was part of the Belgian Resistance and died in a death camp.

The Holocaust and the atrocities of the Second World War have affected all of us - through family stories, testimonies of survivors and history books.

The Holocaust is part of our collective memory. It is our duty to make sure that never again may such atrocities happen.

This is especially important for young people who may be tempted to see the Holocaust as just a chapter in history books. But, we know that the Holocaust is more than just history.

It is a human and moral tragedy that shaped our collective conscience. It happened because of intolerance, hate, silence and inaction.

Today, when anti-Semitism, hate speech, anti-Muslim feelings and all sorts of discrimination and fear of the other are on the rise again, we must recall our moral compass - human dignity and fundamental rights, the values that reconciled and reunited the people of Europe 75 years ago.

If we do this, we are carrying out our duty towards the memory of the victims, which is also important for generations to come.