Holocaust survivor and Italian writer Primo Levi – the first to make a detailed written recollection of the atrocities that happened in Auschwitz – said: “We cannot understand [Fascism], but we can and must understand from where it springs, and we must be on our guard. Because what happened can happen again. For this reason, it is everyone’s duty to reflect on what happened”.
76 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, these words resonate stronger than ever. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how alongside the virus, hatred against many minorities across the world escalated, including by proliferation of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and hate speech against Jews, in particular on social media.
We have also seen how despicable theories to delegitimise history through Holocaust denial persist, including in Europe. The EU will continue to work to ensure that we act decisively both inside and outside our borders against antisemitism and discrimination, by implementing the upcoming EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and the recently adopted EU Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy (2020-2024). We will never accept or ignore Holocaust denial, and will combat firmly any kind of antisemitism, intolerance, harassment or violence against any person or community based on ethnic origin, religion or belief.
The best antidote against anti-Semitism remains knowledge. The EU will continue to work within the multilateral system, in particular the UN, to maintain effective remembrance policies, to protect freedom of religion or belief, to prevent genocide, to protect historic and religious sites, and to promote education, documentation and research about the Holocaust. We have a responsibility towards the victims, the survivors and future generations.
We need to preserve the memory of the six million men, women and children who fell victim to the brutal murder of the Nazis. We will confront anti-Semitism and we will ensure that the vow of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ is passed on to the next generations of Europeans. This is my pledge on Holocaust Remembrance Day.