On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, leaders call for rejection of anti-Semitism and forms of hatred


An annual moment of reflection on the horrors of the Holocaust arrived Saturday in a context of high global tensions linked to the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

This context was evident in the messages issued by world leaders on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, who condemned the atrocities of the Nazi era and called for the rejection of hateful ideologies, while emphasizing the growing presence of anti-Semitism in today’s conflict-torn moment.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement which paid tribute to the millions of Jews killed during the Holocaust and called on Canadians to remember its victims and survivors.

Panoramic view of a crowd gathered in Ottawa to mark the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
A partial view of people gathered Friday at the National Holocaust Museum in Ottawa for a service marking the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

“We reaffirm our commitment to never forget,” said Trudeau, whose Friday statement also acknowledged the many Roma, Sinti and other groups of people also targeted by the Nazis.

He also highlighted the “brutal and worrying rise in anti-Semitism” observed in Canada and elsewhere in recent months.

A sharper message was shared by US President Joe Biden, who said the need to remember the evils of the past was “more urgent than ever” following the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel on October 7 last, which sparked the ongoing war in Israel. Gaza.

“An alarming increase”

“Since then, we have seen an alarming rise in despicable anti-Semitism at home and abroad that has exposed the painful scars of millennia of hatred and genocide of the Jewish people,” Biden said. said in a statement published Friday. “It is unacceptable.”

Those same attacks in Israel last October left Australia’s Jewish community “bearing pain that you should never have had to bear again”, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. in a video message.

Albanese said remembering the Holocaust “must be a conscious act” and called on his fellow Australians to “always denounce and reject anti-Semitism”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “we have a duty to remember the horrific crimes of the Holocaust.” He caught the attention of his followers on social media. the story of Lily Ebert, a 100-year-old survivor.

We see an elongated rose at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
A white rose was seen at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin on Friday. Saturday marked the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In Germany, where flowers were laid and candles lit at memorials to victims of Nazi terror, Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared that his country would continue to bear responsibility for this “crime against humanity”.

He called on all citizens to defend German democracy and fight anti-Semitism, as the country marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

“‘Never again,’ it’s every day,” Scholz said in his weekly video podcast. “January 27 calls on us: Stay visible! Stay audible! Against anti-Semitism, against racism, against misanthropy – and for our democracy.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is struggling to repel Russia’s full-scale invasion, posted an image of a Jewish menorah on X, formerly Twitter, to mark the day of commemoration.

“Every new generation must learn the truth about the Holocaust. Human life must remain the highest value for all nations in the world,” said Zelenskyy, who is Jewish and lost his ancestors in the Holocaust.

“Eternal memory to all the victims of the Holocaust!” Zelensky tweeted.

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