74 years ago, on January 27, 1945, Allied forces liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
That is why Germany and Poland chose this day of the year to honor the victims of National Socialism, Italy adding the victims of fascism. Since 2001, the United Kingdom has made this day the “Holocaust Memorial Day”.
On 18 October 2002, the European Ministers of Education meeting in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe unanimously adopted the Declaration establishing the Day of Holocaust Remembrance and Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity in schools in the Member States. And on November 1, 2005, UN Resolution 60/7 decided to make it the International Day dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
The Council of Europe sets the educational ambition of this day which “is not intended to perpetuate the memory of horror, but to teach students to be vigilant, to defend democratic values and to fight intolerance “.
There is much to be done in this area, and in many areas. But anti-Semitism is very symptomatic of the evil that is eating away at our democracies.
The European Commission published a few days ago a survey on the perception of anti-Semitism in the EU. Half of Europeans believe that anti-Semitism is a problem in their country, according to this Eurobarometer based on interviews with more than 27,000 people in the 28 EU countries.
These findings were presented Tuesday at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, just when the trial begins on Mehdi Nemmouche, the main suspect of the attack that occurred in that same place in 2014.
The denial of the Holocaust is considered the main manifestation of anti-Semitism, in this study whose main element is to reveal a significant shift in perception between the general population and the Jewish community. In fact, 89% of European Jews (compared to 36% of Europeans as a whole) believe that anti-Semitism has increased in their country in the last five years.
“Four out of 10 Jews are thinking of leaving Europe”, Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said during a visit to the Jewish Museum in Brussels, adding: “When Jews left Europe in the past, it has never been a good sign of the state of Europe “.
Ms Jourova announced that she wanted to set up a “working group” of European experts to ensure the implementation of a “Declaration on Antisemitism”, a document recently signed unanimously by the 28 , where they pledged to step up the fight against anti-Semitism.
It is the values of Europe that are at stake.
Iconography: the “new synagogue”, on Oranienburger Street in Berlin, which, despite its name, dates from the second half of the 19th century © Centrum Judaicum, Foto: Jana Blechschmid