Holocaust survivors remember victims with moving Mansion House ceremony

 

Never forgetting: “wickedness and cruelty” recalled by President:FOUR IRISH-RESIDENT survivors of Nazi concentration camps took part in the National Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration at the Mansion House last night

.In a moving ritual at the Dublin event, Tomi Reichental, Suzi Diamond, Jan Kaminski and Zoltan Zinn-Collis spoke separately and at intervals the words “I am here today not because of who I am but because of what I am. I am a survivor of the Holocaust.”

In the keynote address, President McAleese said: “Our job is not done until all can sleep easy in their beds at night and freely go about their business by day.’’

She said: “The wickedness and cruelty of the Holocaust lacerate our hearts to this day, as they should. God forbid that any generation will ever know the indulgence of forgetting or ever cease to probe how it all came to be. For somewhere in our world today there are men and women who are teaching their children to hate the otherness of others and, in that toxic teaching, there germinates the seed that makes such a nightmare possible all over again.”

She continued: “Never forgetting is our duty and our responsibility . . . Europe’s laws and protective structures have progressed considerably these 60 years, but for all that, hate-filled ideas are still touted and individuals still live in fear and our job is not done until all can sleep easy in their beds at night and freely go about their business by day.’’

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Eibhlín Byrne, welcomed all at the beginning. Claes Ljungdahl, the Swedish Ambassador to Ireland, read the Stockholm Declaration of 2000 which promised to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and reaffirmed humanity’s common aspiration to tolerance and democracy.

Seán Aylward, general secretary at the Department of Justice, which has been associated with the event since it began in 2003, promised continuing support.

Brief readings were given by Minister for Integration Conor Lenihan, Olwyn Enright TD, Ruairí Quinn TD, former Minister for Equality and Law Reform Mervyn Taylor, former Equality Authority chief executive Niall Crowley, Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness, Raphael Siev, curator of the Jewish Museum, author Jennifer Johnston, poet Micheál Ó Siadhail, and others.

Music was by Moya Brennan and Mikey Smith. A candle-lighting ceremony commemorated all who died in the camps.