Address by the President of the Republic on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration, in Strasbourg

We stand today in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, those who perished during one of the Continent’s, and indeed the world’s, darkest periods.

People who were methodically and intentionally exterminated because of their personal attributes; because they did not conform to a parochial social, ethnic, and religious ideology, at a time when extremism, intolerance and hate reigned in Europe.

We honour the memory of the victims; we look to the past with the present’s keen hindsight; we never forget, so as not to allow such atrocities to occur in the future.

Today, extremist rhetoric, racism, and xenophobia, are no longer knocking on Europe’s door. They are here. We must remember our collective failures and achievements; the emergence of common European values: respect for democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights.

We must work towards more inclusive and tolerant societies, guaranteeing the rights and liberties of our citizens and all those on the European continent. That would be the most appropriate and sincere commemoration for the millions in the Holocaust. We owe them the dignity and honor that their deaths were not in vain.

Cyprus and Romania are organizing today an exhibition in commemoration of the Holocaust. The Cypriot exhibit depicts the work of Holocaust survivors, who found themselves in Cyprus for a short period when fleeing post-war Europe in search of a new home.

It is a testament of life flourishing even in the most dire circumstances and of the comfort provided in friendship and an enduring faith in humanity.

I would like this call for respect and unity-in-diversity to be my clear message in paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. May we remember them. May the Europe that has been built on their ashes never lose sight of their sacrifice, and never allow such disastrous times again.

Source: Press and Information Office