Strasbourg 24 January 2017: A ceremony marking International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust took place on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 on the forecourt of the Palais de l’Europe.
In front of the commemorative stone on the forecourt of the Palais de l’Europe, addresses and wreath-laying were made by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania; Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Ambassador of Israel to the international institutions in France, Miranda Vuolasranta, President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum and Denis Erhart, President of "Les Oublié(e)s" de la Mémoire Association Civile Homosexuelle du Devoir de Mémoire. Closing remarks were made by Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly.
“Today we are commemorating the liberation of the survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp, a victory of humanity over barbarity, and paying tribute to the victims of the genocide of all those that did not fit the pattern of National Socialism: Jews, Roma, Witnesses of Jehovah, homosexuals, disabled and political opponents. We thought then that this liberation had not only freed the survivors but also the spirit of fraternity. We thought it wasa bad dream which would never happen again” said Miranda Vuolasranta, the president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum in her speech.
The representative of the ERTF insisted on the fact that this commemoration was a way to keep the memory alive but that “it will remain a hollow ceremony if our European governments do not translate that memory into action. The hour is grave and the danger imminent.
The commemoration marks the end of the Holocaust and the liberation on 27 January, 1945 by Russian troops of the largest Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Dear Friends, let this ceremony be a wake-up call to all concerned.