Fischer calls Holocaust
'ultimate crime against humanity'
THE JERUSALEM POST
Mar. 17, 2005
In a second day
of intense introspection sparked by the opening of Yad
Vashem's new Holocaust museum, European leaders on
Wednesday took turns vowing to fight renewed
anti-Semitism and racism in their respective countries
just six decades after the Holocaust.
Germany, Poland, France and Romania each separately
pledged to teach future generations the dangers of
anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia that plunged Europe
into darkness 66 years ago, into what the German Foreign
Minister, Joschka Fischer, called "the ultimate crime
depths of my country's history are illuminated in a
horribly tangible way and the immeasurable suffering
inflicted on German and European Jews by the Nazis is
brought home to us and burned into our memories once and
for all," he said.
In an ironic
twist of history, Germany, and its foreign minister in
particular, are considered to be among Israel's closest
friends in Europe.
"I would call
upon everyone from here, from this stage, to have the
courage always to stand against evil, not to try to
smooth around the corners, not to stay indifferent,"
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said.
Jews were murdered in Nazi occupied Poland during the
Holocaust. After decades of Communist rule and a virtual
news and educational blackout on Jewish suffering, the
country has only recently been coming to terms with its
president noted that his country had recently decided to
contribute $26 million towards the construction of a
Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, a step
seen as an attempt to counter the image of Poland as an
"For the benefit
of the past, but also for a future that has to be free of
xenophobia, racism, we, the Polish people, believe it's
very important not to lose the memory of our Jewish
brothers and sisters," he said.
decision to fund over 75% of the Warsaw museum project
despite difficult economic times comes during a period of
blossoming Polish-American and Israeli-Polish ties,
especially in the military sphere. Poland is now
considered to be one of the most pro-Israel countries in
In his remarks,
French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said that the
reemergence of anti-Semitism in his country was an
"undeniable" fact of life.
that I head struggles very firmly and vehemently against
all the forms of the reappearance of anti-Semitism in
France. Repression is called for and we shall do that
without fail," he added.
significance of the Holocaust has to be known and
understood by all citizens, especially by the youngsters,
to stop anti-Semitism and racial discrimination,"
Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu
government took responsibility last year for the actions
of Romanian authorities during World War II and promised
to educate the public about the Holocaust.
panel of Romanian historians set up last year said the
wartime regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu was responsible
for the deaths of 280,000-380,000 Jews and more than
Like in Poland
during the Communist era, Romanians were taught that
Germans were the sole perpetrators of the Holocaust,
ignoring the involvement of Romania's wartime
chief rabbi and Holocaust survivor Yisrael Meir Lau
concluded: "In the shadow of the events, of the horror of
the Holocaust, we have to understand that we have no
choice, no alternative, but to offer a hand, one to the
other, and together shoulder-to-shoulder to fight our
common enemies and live among us in understanding,
friendship and peace."