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Tuesday, 09 October

The Romanian Government pays tribute to the memory of the Holocaust victims

Address by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila at the events dedicated to the National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust

 

Viorica Dancila:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Distinguished guests,

We are commemorating today one of the tragic moments in our country’s history. October 9 marks starting 2004, the National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust in Romania. On this occasion, I want to pay homage to the memory of the Holocaust victims, this tragic episode is part of the Romanian collective memory that we are all dutybound to remember. It is a sad day in which we recall the image of the families and generations who perished, the destinies that were destroyed, the entire missing communities. At the same time, we remember the importance and symbolism of those who were righteous among the nations, and who, in the darkest moments of history,  forgot about themselves, in order to lend a helping hand to their neighbor, friend, colleague, and the man beside them. Over seven decades since this tragic moment of our mutual history, there are few survivors among us who can bear witness to the past. Unfortunately, at the beginning of this year, one of the voices of memory passed away: writer Aharon Appelfeld, a Bukovina and Transnistria Holocaust survivor.

The testimonies of the Holocaust survivors have an extremely important role in the fight against intolerance, discrimination and exclusion of any kind. The legacy left to us by the Holocaust survivors needs to be passed on to each generation. It is our duty to never forget what happened.

My participation, alongside distinguished guests, in a solemn event like the one today, confirms the dimension of the moral obligation which lies with all of us to make all efforts in order to counter any sort of anti-Semitic, xenophobic manifestation and to prevent such tragedies from ever taking place. The significant efforts that Romania has made lately in assuming the past, condemning the Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism have resulted in an approach at the forefront of social and political life, in the spirit of respect for historical truth. In recent years, Romania has taken a number of important steps to support the Holocaust study so that younger generations discover the truth about this dramatic page of history. I would like to emphasize that the Romanian legislation has very clear provisions, condemning the denial of the Holocaust and incitement to anti-Semitism. In June 2018, the Romanian Parliament passed a special law on combating anti-Semitism. Thus, anti-Semitism was defined in terms used by the International Holocaust Memory Alliance. The adoption of this law is Romania's commitment to the fight against antisemitism and any manifestations of racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and intolerance. In the same line, the Romanian Government supports the strengthening of the efforts to include in curricula the issues related to the genocide of the Roma during the Second World War and to ensure decent social conditions to the last Roma survivors of deportations in Transnistria. I would also like to recall the full involvement of the Romanian Government in the project of a Holocaust museum in Bucharest. As Prime Minister of Romania, I will continue to support any activity or initiative designed to promote coexistence in a climate of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as Romania's participation as a democratic state in the joint action of combating anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Moreover, during this period of intense consultation to establish the programme of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, we are preoccupied that when we are talking about Europe of shared values, these fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as combating discrimination, are among the objectives of our mandate. Thank you!

 

***

A commemorative event, paying homage to the memory of the Holocaust victims in Romania and worldwide was organized on Tuesday in Krakow, Poland, by the RomanianGovernment , through State Advisor Dana Varga and the Civic Union of Young Roma from Romania.

On the occasion of the national commemorative day of October 9, the Government expresses its solidarity with the victims of the tragic events during World War II in the concentration camps.

The event in Poland aims to bring to the attention of society the consequences of the genocide committed by the Nazi regime, including on Roma citizens, and was organized with the participation of forty students belonging to this ethnic group, as well as sociologists, historians, university professors and Roma representatives from state institutions.

 

The events commemorating the Holocaust victims remind us of the suffering endured by our fellow beings, mostly Jews, but also Roma and other minorities, the devastating consequences of racial hatred and the danger of extremist ideologies. It is our moral duty to make sure that such atrocities shall never occur again, to understand that the rights, the fundamental freedoms of the citizens and the respect for the fellow people are the basis of the evolution of a democratic society," emphasized State Advisor Dana Varga.

 



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