Last January 23rd 2020, in the city of Jerusalem, took place the World´s Leaders meeting commemoration of the Shoa.
In this meeting the actual King of Spain, Don Felipe VI, addressed the following speech that I have wnated to share with you all.
It is a great honor – which causes me humility – to address you tonight, as we meet for the V World Holocaust Forum tomorrow. It is an outstanding meeting of world leaders committed to memory, with a just cause and a moral obligation.
Thank you President Rivlin. And thank you for your wise words, which are always a source of inspiration.
I am sure that each of us here would have thoughts to express in this historical event. I will only try modestly to condense some of them, with the hope that you feel represented.
75 years later, the world does not forget, the world still remembers and promises to be vigilant. This is what this impressive meeting here today has decided to proclaim firmly and clearly.
Our great Jewish thinker Moisés Maimónides, born in Sefarad, in the city of Córdoba, wrote in that Middle Ages, following in the footsteps of other great thinkers: “All the great evils that men cause each other, be original in ignorance” . Undoubtedly, Humanity has suffered its darkest hours when millions of innocent lives from many areas of life and countless communities were abruptly vanished by blind, perverse and ignorant hatred.
It is that there is no greater evil than that derived from ignoring that all women and men are equal and that every human being has been the recipient of the greatest dignity. There is no greater irresponsibility than feeling superior to others, when people believe they have the right to discriminate, to accept intolerance or promote resentment towards others for political gain, political extremism or racial hatred.
We can find the remedy to such malicious and immoral contempt of the dignity of the “other”, first and foremost, in the example of those who suffered from their murderous enmity. (…) And tomorrow in Yad Vashem we will have the honor of meeting some of the survivors of the death camps.
For decades, these men and women have enlightened us about the importance of keeping alive the memory of their terrible experience. Forgetting the Shoa would not only be a dishonor to the memory of millions of victims, but it would also be extremely dangerous.
However, we well know that despite the profound effort of those who gave us – or even give us today – their personal testimony (or that of their relatives), of the powerful inspiration that this means for us, just remember, unfortunately, no It’s enough. We also know that barbarism can grow when you least expect it, even in the midst of advanced technology and culture. We are never fully safe from it, and to varying degrees, we still see today how it hits hard in different parts of our world.
It is clear that we cannot look the other way. We must persevere in the implementation, teaching and life itself according to the principles and values of the International Declaration of Human Rights.
We have come today, Mr. President, not only to present our respect for the survivors and our disgust for what happened – not so long ago – in Auschwitz-Birkenau and many other places.
We are here also – perhaps primarily – to show our unwavering commitment to devote all necessary efforts in our respective countries, to the fight against ignorant intolerance, hatred and the total lack of human empathy that made the Holocaust possible. Because preventing this disease of civilization is a collective responsibility, but also an individual one. There can be no place for indifference in the presence of racism, xenophobia, hate speech and anti-Semitism.
Sadly, we are witnessing today an increase in the despicable attacks on Jews in different parts of the world. So many times in history, animosity against Jews has proven, shamefully, to be a symptom and a clear example of intolerance and aversion to different ones.
Having a rich and complex Jewish past and a vibrant Jewish community, Spain has decided to create a solid framework of rules and initiatives to relentlessly combat anti-Semitism and all forms of xenophobia and racism. There are, of course, many other nations – both here and others – that are making similar efforts and moving forward.
But although I remain optimistic, I know – we all know it – that we will always need to persevere together so that those words, so often repeated, “never again”, remain our guide and our perennial principle.
Never again, Leolám lo Od.