Statement by HR/VP Federica Mogherini on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The scar, the indelible scar that the Shoah has left across Europe, is and must forever be seared into our collective memory. As Eli Wiesel said, “to forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.”

As time passes, we share a responsibility to remember the Shoah, to mourn its victims, to keep supporting the tireless engagement of the survivors in keeping the memory alive.

It is not only a responsibility towards the Jewish people, it is a responsibility towards mankind, towards future generations, towards Europe itself. If we forget the dark history of our continent, we run the risk of underestimating how crucial it is to preserve peace, unity and diversity inside our continent.

We must be honest enough to admit that more than 70 years after the Shoah, anti-Semitism is still alive in our “civilized” European Union. As alive is the fear of diversity, the temptation to look for scapegoats in difficult times, instead of working at ways to make our times less difficult, for all.

Our duty is to ensure that present and future generations are conscious of the roots of the Holocaust. Understanding evil, and how it so easily made its way into our own societies, is the first step to prevent evil from prevailing again.

We share, as European citizens and as EU institutions, the fears and concerns of so many European Jews. Our countries are duly stepping up security measures, but this is first and foremost a battle of hearts and minds against anti-Semitism and any kind of discrimination based on faith or ethnicity.

While we commemorate the Shoah, we pay tribute to all the Righteous that did not surrender to fear and to the ideology of the time. They not only saved the lives of many, they kept hope alive that humanity can prevail.

We need to learn from them in the difficult times we are living, and pass on to the next generations the memory of evil as well as the courage of humanity.