𝐀 𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐖𝐈𝐙𝐎 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚, 𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐓𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞-𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝𝐦𝐚𝐧
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a United Nations General Assembly designated day. It marks 77 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, a number that is still within living memory for those who survived the evil of the concentration camps.
On this annual day of commemoration, the United Nations urges all member states to honour the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust as well as the millions of other victims of Nazism. It is also a time to develop and implement educational programs that can help to prevent future genocides. It is especially important that young people learn about the dangers of hatred and discrimination, and most of all to understand the harrowing truth of where it can all lead.
A crucial message for this day of remembrance is that we must not forget the very worst atrocities of the last century. Those who witnessed and survived the horrors of the past are decreasing in number and reaching the end of their days. This fact makes it even more vital that we play an active role in protecting the lessons and legacies of Holocaust history. All people, irrespective of their religion, have an urgent responsibility and a moral obligation to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive so as to ensure that all genocides shall be prevented and that the history of these crimes against humanity will not be repeated.
Different commemorations mark the victims’ efforts at resistance and concentrate on contemporary efforts to battle hatred and antisemitism. Unfortunately, there are still Jewish men, women, and children who face persecution and discrimination today with global statistics showing a sharp rise in antisemitism the world over.
Sadly, our own country of South Africa leads the way in BDS attacks and promotes our government’s continuous antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric, all of which has had a very direct and negative effect on our local Jewish communities. All over the world South Africa is recognized as a hotbed of antisemitism and Israel bashing. What a terrible mark to have to live with.
That is why on this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is imperative that we do two things: we must reflect on what took place during those dark and depraved years of the Nazi regime, remembering and paying homage to the victims and survivors. Secondly, it is essential that we join hands and stand united against intolerance and oppression of people of every race, religion or ethnicity.
As WIZO women, we are part of a movement that exemplifies co-existence and strives for the abolition of all forms of discrimination. Let’s use our voices, today and always, to shout out 𝐍𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑 𝐀𝐆𝐀𝐈𝐍.
We will remember and we will play our part to ensure a free and beautiful society for all.