International Holocaust Remembrance Day held in Accra

Madam Gita Honwana Welch, UNDP Ghana Resident Representative

Madam Gita Honwana Welch, UNDP Ghana Resident Representative

The Israeli Embassy in collaboration with the United Nation’s office in Ghana and the German Embassy on Wednesday marked the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Accra in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

The event which brought together members of the Diplomatic community, government officials and some notable religious personalities in Ghana also created the platform for screening of the film “Numbered” which documented the dark time and setting during which 400,000 numbers were tattoed in Auschwitz to both Jewish and non- Jewish prisoners during the 2nd World War.

Madam Shani Cooper, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana in a remark reminded the world to eschew the tendency of anti-Semitism and racism which was trying to rear its ugly head with recent provocative attacks on Jews in some parts of the world.

She said it was upon this basis the Council of Ministers of the European Union a month ago, adopted an important resolution on combating anti-Semitism and improving security for Jewish Communities in Europe.

Madam Cooper said the resolution has a specific reference to the problem of severe on-line anti-Semitic hate speech and holocaust denial adding that it also called on member states that were yet to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRIA) working definition of anti-Semitism to do so.

She defined anti-Semitism as a certain perception of Jews which might be expressed as hatred towards Jews adding that rhetorical and physical manifestation of anti- Semitism were directed towards Jewish and non- Jewish individuals and their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Madam Gita Honwana Welch, UNDP Ghana Resident Representative, said from a deadly assault on a synagogue in the United States to the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe, “This centuries-old hatred is not only still strong but getting worse”.

“We see the proliferation of the neo-Nazi groups, and attempts to rewrite history and distort the facts of the holocaust, we see bigotry moving at lightning speed across the internet,” she said.

She said as the 2nd World War receded in time and the number of holocaust survivors dwindled, “It falls for us to be ever vigilant” adding that it was time to unite now more than ever in the sight of universal values in order to the world of equality for all.

Mr Christoph Retzlaff, German Ambassador to Ghana said the Holocaust conjured up millions of individual stories with each describing in its own way incomprehensible suffering and unspeakable cruelty cumulating in systematic murder.

“Today, we remember all the victims, all those who were robbed of their lives and stripped of their human dignity but we have to go one step further in our shared remembrance,” he said.

By Lawrence Markwei

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