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More than 45 world leaders gathered in Jerusalem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. They publicly committed to never forget the lessons of the Holocaust.
Several world leaders denounced the growing threat of anti-Semitism, and publicly committed to never forget the lessons of the Holocaust in a solemn ceremony in Jerusalem last Thursday, within the framework of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The meeting became had a high political tone, because several leaders included in their speeches competitive interpretations of World War II and its relevance to the present.
The World Holocaust Forum, the largest summit of its kind, brought together more than 45 world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Spanish King Philip VI, Prince Charles of Great Britain, the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, and the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The three-hour event at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, seeked to present a common front, to commemorate the destruction of European Jews, in the midst of a global increase in anti-Semitism violence.
HISTORY TO HISTORIANS
During the gala dinner prior to the meeting, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, asked world leaders to leave “historical research to historians”, because “the role of political leaders is to shape the future”.
Acting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also talked at the Forum, pointing out that “for the Jewish people, Auschwitz is more than the ultimate symbol of evil. It is also the ultimate symbol of Jewish powerlessness. Today, we have a voice, we have a land and we have a shield”.
EDUCATION IN THE MIDST OF IGNORANCE
In the midst of growing signs of ignorance and indifference towards the Holocaust, historians belive that the key message is education.
A survey published this week by the Claims Conference, a Jewish organization in charge of negotiating compensation for victims of Nazi persecution, reveals that most people in France is not aware that 6 million Jews were killed during World War II.
Among millennials, 45% said they were unaware of French collaboration with the Nazi regime. The government in France during war deported 76,000 Jews to extermination camps.
Last year, researchers of Tel Aviv University reported that attacks against Jews increased significantly in 2018, with the largest number of Jews killed in anti-Semitic acts in decades. In total, they recorded 400 attacks, the most dramatic peak of recent years in Western Europe.
The investigation also saw an increase of anti-Semitism in social media and newspapers, as extremist political parties have grown in power in several countries.