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Message of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day
2016-01-27 10:46:27

Today we commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Yom HaShoah. It’s a day of humility and reflection, in memory of the six millions of Jews that perished under Nazi persecution. We stand in awe in front of their courage and suffering, vowing that we will never forget.

We will never forget that humanity had lost its moral bearings and plundered into an abyss of persecution and genocide. That a whole nation was ravaged because of delusional rhetoric and perverted ideology. We will never forget that individual apathy has led to collective suffering, and that human dignity was a victim of intolerance.

Seventy-one years have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on the 27th of January 1945 but these messages resonate today as loudly as ever. The threats against human dignity persevere. Terrorism, ideological and religious extremism, political radicalization still seek to shred apart the moral fabric of our democratic societies. Recent events in our region and abroad only show that we need to remain actively vigilant. That we need to defend our values against those that threaten them. That we need to protect human dignity against those that do not value it.

For around 53.000 Jews, Cyprus was on the route to the Promised Land, a port of call, but also of internment, during their Exodus from the concentrations camps to freedom. Today, I would like to pay homage to our fellow compatriots who embraced the Jewish refugees during their internment in the camps in the areas of Karaolos in Famagusta and in Dhekelia. There are many stories, human stories, of how local Cypriot communities provided food, clothing and medical care to the Jewish refugees in a clandestine manner. The government of the Republic of Cyprus is indebted to them. Our country and our society has been a victim of forcible displacement and occupation, and we feel in our core the plight of refugees with similar experiences.

In the Old Testament, in Joel 1:3 we read: “Tell it to your children, And let your children tell it to their children, And their children to the next generation.” This is our promise today. That we shall never forget.

Source: Press & Information Office

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