President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and other EU officials visit Auschwitz in a delegation to fight antisemitism as part of the EJA’s annual event.
The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, European Commissioner for neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, the Secretary of the National Assembly of France, MP Caroline Janvier, President of Parliament of the Czech Republic, Markéta Pekarová, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazović, all joined Ministers and Members of Parliaments from 23 European countries to gather at the Auschwitz extermination camp as part of the annual European Jewish Association’s Leaders Delegation to fight antisemitism, reports the Israel National News. The delegation included a Gala Dinner, where the President of the European Parliament and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, received awards for their services to the Jewish People and Israel, respectively.
„It is my duty and responsibility to protect people in Europe from antisemitism; we will not forget and will not let this happen again. We must fight propaganda and antisemitic narratives, and we don’t only need a strategy against antisemitism, we need action to bring Judaism again to Europe,” said President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, during her visit to Auschwitz.
European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, affirmed his duty to come to Auschwitz and expressed fear that the Holocaust could happen again. „The best way to combat antisemitism is to promote Jewish life. It is not enough to say never again; we must do something. My message to the Europeans: There is only one victory over death, and that is life,” Varhelyi stated.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, talked about the escalation of antisemitism during wartime and economic crisis and highlighted the importance of joint acts from European leaders to „eradicate antisemitism in the field of education and legislation.” „We expect each and every one of the heads of parliament, ministers and officials who accepted our invitation to return tomorrow to their country and to implement educational programs on the obligatory lessons from the Holocaust as well as essential changes in legislation against antisemitism and xenophobia.”
Holocaust survivors gave testimonies, and European leaders placed wreaths at the „Death Wall” compound in Auschwitz and lit memorial candles on the ruins of the gas chambers in Birkenau.
Alexander Machkevitch, Founder of the Euro Asian Jewish Congress and philanthropist for inter-communal religious dialogue and projects, received the Sir Montefiore Award for his tireless multi-decade work in safeguarding and promoting European Jewry. Accepting the award, he expressed his hope that the present leaders will continue actively working to eliminate antisemitism. National leaders talked about the importance of remembering the past, educating new generations about what happened in Auschwitz, keeping the memory alive and ensuring it never happens again.
Photo credit: European Jewish Association official Facebook page