Touring Holocaust exhibit, UN chief says we must ‘never forget and never forgive’
Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.
NEW YORK — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tours a Yad Vashem exhibit at UN Headquarters in New York ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Guterres visits the “Book of Names” installation alongside Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan and Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan.
The installation contains the names of all 4.8 million Holocaust victims who have been identified, and blank pages to symbolize the other 1.2 million deaths.
“It’s impossible to see this exhibition without feeling how painful it is for all of us to discover that humanity was able to commit such a heedless crime,” Guterres says. “At the same time it’s so important that so many people have worked so hard to make sure that this memory will be preserved forever and that we will never, never forget and never forgive the Holocaust,” he says.
Erdan speaks out against antisemitism and Holocaust denial at an event after the ceremony, calling social media “a cesspool of lies and hate,” and demanding action to combat Jew hatred.
“Hateful actions always begin with hateful words,” he says. “Platitudes are not enough. I demand action, the Jewish people demand action, we must not allow evil to prevail.”
Erdan also links antisemitism to Israeli counter-terror operations, including one that killed nine Palestinians earlier today in Jenin.
“There are those working to erase the memories and lessons that must be learned from our horrific atrocity. They question the right of the Jewish people and the Jewish state to protect ourselves,” he says. “Just today we witnessed another example, one of thousands of Israel defending itself against terrorists in Jenin preparing to carry out an attack against innocent Jews.”
“I expect the international community to stand behind the Jewish people in defending ourselves in the Jewish state, as this is one of the fundamental lessons from the Holocaust, the tragedy of the Jewish people. This is the embodiment of never again,” he says.