Holocaust commemoration event organizer says event sends ‘powerful message’

Ahead of this afternoon’s World Holocaust Forum memorial event marking 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the organization’s president Moshe Kantor says the event “sends a powerful message that anti-Semitism is an unacceptable danger to all of our societies.”

“It gives Jews hope all around the world that extremism can be countered with the values of moderation and toleration,” Kantor says at a press conference at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem.

He nonetheless says that he has “never been so concerned with the rise in anti-Semitism that I see around us.”

“Just 75 years after the Holocaust, Jewish life in Europe is again under threat,” says the Moscow-born philanthropist and Jewish activist who also heads the European Jewish Congress.

“It’s a sad picture of trembling communities hiding behind high fences,” he says.

The event, headlined “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” is co-organized by the office of President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center and the World Holocaust Forum Foundation.

Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev says the event aims “to bring together leaders of the international community to express their new commitment for Holocaust remembrance and understanding the deep meaning of Holocaust remembrance and to commit to fighting antisemitism around the world.”

Shalev says the unexpectedly high turn-out of world leaders “shows that we have created a united front of leaders to present the mission of combating antisemitism.”

At 1:15 p.m. the main memorial ceremony will start at Yad Vashem Warsaw Ghetto Square. In addition to Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Macron, US Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Prince Charles and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address the gathering.

— Raoul Wootliff

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