Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

Message by Dr Kerim

We remember a time when virulent nationalism and racist ideology catalyzed the systematic persecution and premeditated mass murder of millions of innocent people. The world rose as one and paid a great price to end such a noxious system that placed the ultimate value of humans in their membership in a racially defined collective group rather than in their individuality.

The founding principle of the UN Charter "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, is testimony to the permanent connection between the United Nations and the tragedy of World War II.

The resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the holocaust remembrance (A/RES/60/7) condemns without reserve all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur.

This day represents more than a commemoration; it signifies more than a remembrance. It must serve as a call to action in honour of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Who better than Holocaust survivors can recount the absurd and unconceivable atrocities against humanity, committed in an era and based on an ideology of hatred and insanity; but, to make the nonsense even greater masked itself in the guise of the “Űbermensch”.

In their honour and all those that did not survive, today let us evoke - through solemn reflection of the past – an inspirational vision of conviction and hope for a better future.

We should all be aware that our thoughts become words; words become deeds; deeds become habits; habits become our character; and, our character becomes our attitude.

Remembrance of the Holocaust is more than the recognition of a tragic past - or the darker side of human nature.

Remembering is an ethical act; it has ethical value in itself.

Remembrance is also a means through which we can understand ourselves: an engine for change that should enable us to create and sustain a better, more just future.

We must compel all nations and people of goodwill to devote their efforts to preventing such atrocities, and do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands.

The universal declaration of human rights proclaims that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, religion or other status. We all must uphold those sentiments and translate it into our daily practices to ensure a safer, more stable world for our children.

Elie Wiesel - Nobel Laureate, a Holocaust survivor and champion of moral responsibility – has best put this into perspective:
“Let us remember, let us remember the heroes of Warsaw, the martyrs of Treblinka, the children of Auschwitz. They fought alone, they suffered alone, they lived alone, but they did not die alone, for something in all of us died with them.”

27 January 2016