“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
IHRA Chair Dr. Mario Silva, Advisor to the IHRA Professor Steven Katz, and Executive Secretary Dr. Kathrin Meyer are visiting Hungary and Poland this week for the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Days on 16 and 19 April.
Hungary marks the National Memorial Day of the Hungarian Victims of the Holocaust on 16 April. This date is the anniversary of the establishment of the first ghetto on Hungarian territory in Munkács in 1944. The Memorial Day was established by a political declaration of Parliament and was first commemorated in 2000.
On 16 April, the IHRA representatives took part in two commemoration ceremonies in Hódmezővásárhely, along with Minister of Defense Mr. Csaba Hende and Hódmezővásárhely officials. Both the IHRA Chair and the Advisor to the IHRA delivered speeches at these ceremonies.
"It is the duty of every one of us to fight against antisemitism, racism and every theory which spreads hatred or excludes groups of people from society," stated Dr. Silva. "We all have to fight this."
An evening commemoration event also took place at the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest, concluding with a ceremony at the “Shoes on the Danube” memorial site to the victims of the Holocaust.
A special website was also established for the National Memorial Day, which is available in Hungarian and English.
Poland observes 19 April, the anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, as the “Day of Remembrance of Holocaust Victims and for Prevention of Crimes against Humanity.” 19 April is commemorated in schools and was officially established by the Minister of National Education in 2004.
Friday will mark the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which will be commemorated with ceremonies led by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.