Wednesday, January 22, 2020 / On the evening of Tevet River 25, more than 40 global leaders gathered for a formal dinner at Beit HaNasi, Israel's presidential palace, to commemorate the World Holocaust Forum. President Rivlin, the official host of the event, spoke tonight, as did King Felipe VI of Spain and Israel's award-winning Professor Yehuda Bauer. Distinguished guests included the Presidents of France, Germany and Italy. Israeli dignitaries included the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the President of the World Holocaust Forum, President Yad Vashem, Rabbi Israel Lau, Benny Gantz, the Speaker of the Knesset, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, the President of Israel. Supreme Court and Mayor of Jerusalem.
Thursday, January 23, 2020 / Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke at a central commemorative ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau at Yad Vashem.
The full text of President Rivlin's speech.
" On January 27, 1945, the gates of hell were opened! Auschwitz was liberated, the greatest machine in the history of human destruction. The horrors that the Red Army soldiers saw when they entered the camp were unimaginable.
Zinovy Tolkachev, a Jewish artist and Red Army soldier, privately described his own insight: "There was the sound of the groans of the victims on the ground, and I could not break free from that cursed land ...... and that terrible human hell. My whole body was sobbing slowly." Bodies were littering the camp grounds like garbage. Thousands of sick and dying people, including children. Half-naked skeletons - "shame," "the living dead." At Auschwitz, there were one million and six hundred thousand people, nearly one and a half million of whom were Jewish.
Private Tolkachev wrote in pencil on a note in Auschwitz, "I remember. So that I will not forget. Let me remember. So that I will not forget.
Today, the King, the leader, the head of state in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is also standing here, "So we remember, so let us not forget." On behalf of the Jewish people, and as President of the State of Israel, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here.
Thank you for your solidarity with the Jewish people!
Thank you for your commitment to the memory of the Holocaust!
Thank you for your commitment to freedom of worship and human dignity for the citizens of the world!
In late November 1943, the three Allied leaders who led the war against Germany and the Axis powers met for the first time in Tehran. This was not a gathering of friends. At this meeting, the leaders were suspicious of each other and had far-reaching differences between them. But those three leaders made a choice. They chose a single goal to overcome their differences: the defeat of Fascism, the defeat of Nazi Germany, which was the alliance of mankind.
The choice of allies came too late for the millions of our people who perished in the Holocaust and the millions of victims of World War II. But they managed to stand up to the Nazi monsters, and what did they say? In the end, freedom, human dignity, and human alliance won World War II, and that is not a matter of course.
What happens in a world where allies are not united? In a world dominated by racial theory? We can only imagine.
Today, we mark the ability of the international community to come together and work toward a common goal, and the obligation and imperative of the international community today to continue to work together on the basis of shared values as we confront anti-Semitism and racism, the radical forces that spread chaos and destruction, hatred and fear of human dignity and humanity itself.
At the end of World War II, the so-called "Age of Responsibility" began. Under the shadow of trauma, fear of the destruction of the Holocaust and the horrors of war, the world chose to act responsibly. Since that time, democracies have brought incredible progress to mankind. Liberation, education, control of deadly diseases, we must not take democracy for granted! Our memories of the Holocaust and the destruction and devastation of World War II are fading, but we must remember.
Today, so do world leaders - we need to be accountable.
Distinguished guests, the Jewish people are a memorable people, and we remember, not out of a sense of superiority, nor to indulge in horrible memories or self-justification. We remember because we know what not to remember when history repeats itself. The crematoriums of Auschwitz not only destroyed human beings, they destroyed human dignity, and freedom and solidarity rose in the smoke of the crematoriums!
Nazi Germany tried to destroy the Jewish people by liberating the Jewish world. But the Nazi racial theory killed more than 66 million people, making it clear that anti-Semitism is not only about Jews, but that anti-Semitism and racism is a malignant disease that destroys and pulls society apart from itself, and that no society or democracy is immune.
Dear guests, the State of Israel does not claim compensation for the Holocaust. This is our home, this is our homeland, after 2,000 years of exile, this is where we came from and then came back. Israel is a strong democracy, a proud member of the family of nations, we are not a people waiting for redemption, but a nation seeking partnership - demanding partnership; full partnership in the struggle against racism, and the old and new anti-Semitism that has erupted today in a worrying way, intruding into the hearts of leaders under the guise of superiority, national purity and xenophobia, in It has paid a bitter price in human life.
Anti-Semitism is a chronic disease that comes between the political left and right, adopting and discarding forms in the course of history, anti-Semitism has not changed, we have changed. The State of Israel is not just a victim, we will always defend ourselves, the state of the Jewish people will always stand firm for the safety and security of the world's Jewish community; the State of Israel is an integral part of the international community that works together to believe in freedom for the sake of human and scientific progress, to strengthen democratic values worldwide, to stop the sowing of terror, bereavement and the forces of radicalism that destroy and threaten every citizen of the world.
That's how we acted, and that's how we will continue to act. Again, I thank you all - the leaders, the de facto partners - for being here. We appreciate your commitment to the security of the Jewish community, especially in these difficult times.
We thank those countries that have adopted the IHR definition of anti-Semitism, a comprehensive definition that includes all types of contemporary anti-Semitism, and call on all nations to do so; this definition is a meaningful tool in the fight against anti-Semitism in the realm of education and political discourse, as well as in the realm of law enforcement.
We will work together to continue to resist anti-Semitism and racism, to oppose the denial of the Holocaust, to educate our sons and daughters, and we will remember and study so that history does not repeat itself. The era of responsibility - the responsibility of all of us sitting here - is not over.
Dear Holocaust survivor: You are a miracle to us, your spiritual strength built the houses and planted the trees, your heroic spirit ensured our freedom in Jewish democracy, the nation. Your love for the land, your love for Israel, will always guide us.
May the memory of our brothers and sisters, the victims of the Holocaust and those who waged war against Nazism, including the righteous in the international arena, be forever etched in our hearts."