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Greece Assumes Presidency of Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Holocaust Greece
The “selection” of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at Auschwitz II-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland, around May 1944. Public Domain

Germany handed over to Greece the annual presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IRHA) in a special online event, the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday.

“With a deep sense of responsibility, Greece commits to promoting its substantial work towards keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive,” the Ministry said in its statement.

In a series of events to be held over the next year, the Greek presidency will emphasize educating and learning about the Holocaust, especially younger generations about what the Holocaust means, so that it shall never be repeated, the Ministry stressed.

Due pandemic-related restrictions, the handover event was performed online this year.

Obligation to educate about the Holocaust, says Greece

One day after Greece assumed the rotating presidency of the IHRA, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday affirmed the country’s commitment to the fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

“Memory means empathy. We have an obligation in the present to educate (people) about the past,” Mitsotakis said in Parliament.

“Education is the weapon of the reasonable man. (Being able) to draw conclusions on the basis of experience and reason: This is the best defense against dogma and hysteria,” he declared.

Greece’s presidency of IHRA coincides with the bicentennial of the country’s War of Independence against Ottoman rule.

“Modern Greece was founded on humanitarian values and universal freedoms,” Mitsotakis said.

“Our commitment to the battle against racism and anti-Semitism is rooted in the core of these values and freedoms,” he said.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

The IHRA is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1998 which unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance worldwide and to uphold the commitments of the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust.

The IHRA has 34 member countries, one liaison country and seven observer countries. It was founded by former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson in 1998.

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