International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell

Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel stated:  “To forget would not only be dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time”. On the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the EU commemorates the six millions Jews, and members from other targeted groups who were brutally and systematically murdered during the Shoah: the greatest tragedy in human history.

No one should ever forget the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis. Victims should never be forgotten. Every State around the world should honour all victims of the Holocaust, condemn Holocaust denial and distortion, and develop education programmes to help prevent genocides from happening ever again.

With the spread of mis- and disinformation and with many world leaders scapegoating minorities, the education of younger generations about the Holocaust is the best antidote. It is the best tool to fight intolerance, bigotry and to ensure that the message of “Never Again” reverberates throughout future generations.

This is even more important today with the passing of survivors of the Holocaust. Most of those who witnessed and survived the horrors of World War II and had the clearest memories of the Holocaust are no longer with us.

Antisemitism and Holocaust denial are incompatible with universal values. The first-ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish Life (2021-2030) contains several provisions on combatting Antisemitism inside and outside the EU and on supporting Holocaust remembrance, including the creation of a European research hub on contemporary antisemitism. We are will continue to advance our work to fight holocaust denial both within the EU, abroad as well as in the multilateral arena: On 20 January 2022, the UN adopted a resolution on Holocaust denial and distortion(link is external), co-sponsored by all EU Member States.

Today and in the years to come, we remain stronger than ever in our commitment to never forget. We have a duty to preserve the memory of all the victims and their suffering. We owe it to those who perished in the Holocaust, we owe it to the survivors, and we owe it to our future generations.