Von der Leyen on 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation: It's a duty to remember for all of us

Source: European Commission (EC) i, published on Friday, January 31 2020.

“We have the permanent responsibility to fight with determination any form of anti-Semitism and discrimination. And never, never, never forget”, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said at the Commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament. She said the memory was painful and frightening, but it did not paralyze us. “On the contrary, it sharpens our moral compass and warns us.”

Von der Leyen also met with Liliana Segre and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, two survivors of Auschwitz, who were present at the EP i ceremony. She expressed her admiration and gratitude for their fight for remembrance. This must be our common fight, she said.

“For when the memory fades, where today there are attempts to deny the Holocaust, where people are vilified and treated with contempt, this is where Europe is called into question”, von der Leyen stressed, reminding that Europe arose with the firm will never again to give any quarter to absolute evil. “Europe knows like no other continent that this mission means: Do not let it take root, never ever again.”

Von der Leyen, together with the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli i, also attended the World Holocaust Forum 2020 in Jerusalem on 23 January.

In their joint statement the three Presidents recalled the Holocaust was a European tragedy, ‘a turning point in our history and its legacy is woven into the DNA of the European Union'. “Remembering the Shoah is not an end in itself. It is one cornerstone of European values. A Europe that places humanity at its centre, protected by the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights”, the statement read. The Presidents equally called upon our duty ‘to stand shoulder to shoulder with Jewish communities' as they feel again threatened across Europe.

“Europe will not remain silent when Jews in Europe are again subjected to hatred and harassment. We will fight anti-Semitism at all levels. We will never allow the Holocaust to be denied”, von der Leyen underlined in her address in the European Parliament adding that we would fight with all our strength against discrimination, racism and exclusion.