21 January 2020
Fifty heads of state and world leaders, who were invited to the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, have written letters stating their fervent and profound pledge to remember the Holocaust and to take measures to combat rising antisemitism. These statements have been collated in a historic book, titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism.”
The book was created for the upcoming Fifth World Holocaust Forum and will be presented to the leaders and guests attending the event at Yad Vashem on January 23, 2020.
Among the letters in the book are submissions from President of the United States of America H.E. Mr. Donald Trump, President of Albania H.E. Mr. Ilir Meta, King of Belgium His Majesty King Phillipe, President of Lithuania H.E. Mr. Gitanas Nauseda, King of the Netherlands His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, President of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Volodmyur Zelenskyy, and Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. António Guterres.
As stated in the Foreword by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation Dr. Moshe Kantor, “This book impressively illustrates the constructive potential of truthful remembrance and forthright action. It conveys a clear and vital message – Holocaust distortion and antisemitism have no legitimate place at anytime, anywhere in the world.”
Many of the leaders focused on how to preserve the memory of the Holocaust as a solemn act, together with the urgent need to confront and prevent antisemitism and other forms of hatred.
“I express my fervent hope that by continued vigilance and positive education, the iniquities perpetrated during one of the darkest periods in our history will be eliminated from the face of the earth,” Pope Francis wrote.
“Holocaust remembrance, education, and research are essential to stop the scourge of antisemitism and hatred that is becoming all too common once again,” Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau wrote. “The murder of six million Jews by the brutal and antisemitic Nazi regime started with a slow erosion of rights, and the normalization of discrimination. We cannot permit the passage of time to diminish our resolve never to allow such horrors to happen again. Discrimination, hatred, and violence targeting Jewish people must be denounced and condemned wherever it is found.”
“We know well that words are not enough and that continuous action, heartfelt remembrance and vast education are needed,” King of Spain Felipe VI wrote. “My country, mindful of the complexities involved in addressing it, has put in place a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that includes criminal, educational, public diplomacy and nationality measures.”
“Australia remains steadfast in its commitment to fight the scourge of racism and contemporary antisemitism,” Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia David John Hurley wrote. “On behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, I make a solemn vow of remembrance.”
“The memory of the Holocaust and World War II must be a warning for us and our descendants,” President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda wrote. “It is our duty to do everything within our power to ensure that such a nightmare should never happen again.”
“Memory and accountability are the active ingredients in the vaccine that needs to be administered to neutralize the dangerous virus of indifference, which threatens to infect the living tissues of democratic societies allowing the proliferation of antisemitism,” President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella wrote. “Silence always favors the aggressor and never the victim.”
On 23 January, at 10:30 a.m., ahead of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, the book will be unveiled to the media at a press conference, which will take place at the Press Center at Yad Vashem with Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation Dr Moshe Kantor.
The Fifth World Holocaust Forum will take place in Jerusalem, with the participation of over 45 heads of state at this historic and unprecedented event. The event, titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” is being organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in cooperation with Yad Vashem and under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin. For information regarding media arrangements for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum click here.