Czech Human Rights Minister: We must never forget the Nazi atrocities against millions of Jews, Roma and other human beings
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 marks 70 years since the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a place that embodies and symbolizes the horrors of WWII to the entire world. That is why 27 January is Holocaust Victims' Remembrance and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity Day here.
Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier believes it is very important to continue to mark this day as an eternal day of remembrance. Nazi atrocities against millions of Jews, Roma and other human beings must never be forgotten.
"Commemorating the horrors of the concentration camps and honoring the memories of those who perished there and those who survived them is our moral obligation. To do so should not just be an expression of participation and respect, but also a warning to everyone who has already forgotten this suffering and everyone who is attempting to belittle this suffering that cost the lives of millions of human beings and left an indelible mark on European history," Dienstbier said on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"In all of the camps at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, at least 1.3 million human beings lost their lives during the war, the vast majority of them Jews (almost one million). As many as 70 000 Poles, 20 000 Roma, 15 000 Soviet prisoners and roughly 15 000 members of other nationalities, including Czechs and Slovaks, also died there. Most of the victims died in the gas chambers, where the Nazis gassed them to death with Zyklon-B, while others died of exhaustion or hunger, or were individually executed, or died of disease in the absence of medical care. There was unimaginable suffering leading to the deaths of prisoners used as subjects in monstrous 'medical' experiments. In addition to Auschwitz, however, there also existed many other camps that were components of the so-called Final Solution, a coherent plan that elevated one race over all others. That, too, must never be forgotten," Dienstbier said.
For that reason, the minister said he believes that in addition to commemorative ceremonies, the topic of the Holocaust must also be publicized through the public broadcast media, in public spaces and in the schools. "I appreciate the fact that the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Sobotka, will attend the gathering to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Oświęcim, Poland on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 together with other members of the Czech Government and world leaders," Dienstbier emphasized.
Czech Prime Minister Sobotka will be accompanied in the Czech delegation to Oświęcim by Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová, Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický and Czech Culture Mnister Daniel Herman. That commemorative ceremony will also be attended by the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Poland, Jakub Karfík.
Several guests of the international "Let My People Live!" forum taking place today at Prague Castle will also join the Czech PM's trip to Oświęcim. The representatives of many states from around the world will attend the commemoration there to honor the memories of those who did not live to see the liberation of the concentration camp and those who suffered from its trauma for the rest of their lives; several people who survived the horrors of the extermination camps will also attend.
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