The International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is one of much emotion. We mourn for every town, every community, every family, for each and every name. We mourn the loss of an entire world – indeed six million worlds – obliterated by the powers of evil and hatred.
At the same time, we must remember and honour the survivors. Those who as children were rushed away from their families and loved ones; those who succeeded in hiding; those who were able to join the resistance; those who survived the ghettos and the camps; and those who were spared the gas chambers.
Those, who at the end of the war, emerged from the depths of evil, and chose life. A generation, whose belief in the justness of our path, was a guiding light. A generation of heroic deeds. A generation which has contributed to every aspect of Israeli society, and to Jewish communities around the world. This generation produced a dynasty and planted seeds, as they carried the torch of hope and rebirth.
To this day, this torch is a beacon of light, of heroism, of choosing life and a path forward. Moreover, they educated the next generation, not only about the dangers of hated and destruction, but of the need for understanding, mutual respect, and human dignity.
As Janusz Korczak, the heroic Jewish Polish doctor, who perished in the Holocaust with the orphans for whom he cared, wrote: ‘The one concerned with days, plants wheat. The one concerned with years, plants trees. But the one concerned with generations, educates people.’
Today we must continue to educate. We must empower the next generation to stand up for the freedoms our people were denied – for the right to live without fear, and with dignity.
Today, against the reemergence of intolerance and fundamentalism, all peoples, of all faiths, and all communities, must together make this call loud and clear, in both words and actions. Together we must say: ‘Never again.’