YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—On the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, the UN Armenia Office, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jewish Community of Armenia, participated in a ceremony to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Jewish Holocaust, in which millions of Jews in Europe were killed by Nazi German authorities during the Second World War. The UN Resident Coordinator Bradley Busetto and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Manassarian placed a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial in Aragast Park followed by prayers and a candlelight vigil.
The event continued at the National Library of Armenia with an exhibition of posters featuring documentary fragments of the history of the Holocaust and WWII, award winning posters on the topic, as well as publications from the UN Reference Library and the National Library stocks. In the reception hall of the National Library where media and a youth audience from schools and universities in Yerevan were gathered, UN, Foreign Ministry, and Jewish community representatives spoke about the mass killings of primarily Jewish citizens, political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma citizens, homosexuals, disabled persons, and Jehovah’s witnesses by Nazis during WWII.
In his speech, UN Resident Coordinator Bradley Busetto stated: “While honoring the memory of the victims, this international day of commemoration is our opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the international community to taking action against anti-semitism, racism, and intolerance, and to preventing similar violence in the future.”
Seventy years have passed since the liberation of the Auschwitz Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, a place where the Nazis introduced the monstrous concept of “industrialized murder.” While speaking about these tragic events and crimes against humanity the Rabbi Gershon Meir Burshtein and the Chairwoman of the Jewish Community of Armenia Rimma Varzhapetyan-Feller highlighted the lessons of tolerance that especially the youth should learn. Speaking and telling about these inhumane acts of genocide and annihilation can prevent modern day crimes and attempts at genocide, hatred, discrimination and xenophobia.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian issued a message marking the day of remembrance.
“The genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people during the years of the Second World War is, indeed, one of the most cruel and tragic pages in human history,” Sarkisian’s statement said. “January 27, which symbolized the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, became an important turning point for stopping the evil of the Holocaust.
“The commemoration of the Holocaust victims and the condemnation of this genocide is urgent as long as there are still expressions of hatred and intolerance based on national, racist and religious grounds, and as long as the threat of a reoccurrence of such crimes against humanity is there.
“It’s an unequivocal truth that denying genocides, especially on a state level, is one of the stages of that crime. It’s a double crime not only against the innocent victims, but also against the present and the future. Perhaps it could have been possible to prevent the crime perpetrated under the cover of World War Two, had the crime against humanity perpetrated during World War One been duly condemned by the international community.
“Once again bowing before the memory of the innocent victims of the Holocaust, I would like to express my support and solidarity to the Jewish people and the Jewish community of Armenia. The Armenian nation, which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, more than understands the pain of the Jewish people,” Sarkisian said.