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Chancellery remembers Holocaust victims and calls for prevention of irrational ideas and discrimination

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Today, the ceremony for the "International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust", organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Jewish Community of Chile, was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ceremony commemorates the liberation by Soviet troops of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, which took place on January 27, 1945.

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"We have come together again to recall a tragedy that is one of the darkest pages of our presence on this planet, showing what happens when democratic principles and tolerance succumb to horror and fanaticism," the Minister said in his speech. "Today we remember the ghettos and concentration camps, forced labour and the more than 6 million people whose lives were taken, including more than a million children," he added.

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The Minister highlighted Chile's role in sheltering those affected by this tragedy. "After the Holocaust ended, our country also served as a refuge for many Jews who fled persecution, formed families here and, with their effort and that of their descendants, have made a fundamental contribution to the development and identity of our country: in academia, politics, business, science, law, art, among many other disciplines".

In addition, he valued that in Chile "today we have the fortune to live in a tolerant and pluralistic society". However, he pointed out that it is necessary to bear in mind that the Holocaust "did not begin in the concentration camps, but rather took root in the germ of those abominable crimes that had already been present and had been installed previously, in stories, speeches and sometimes isolated acts of hatred that perverted the minds of many people."

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For this reason, he stated that "preventing the emergence of irrational ideas and discrimination, as well as promoting tolerance, is an ongoing task that must begin with the education of our children. It is important to tell them what happened, it is important that they know what happened and form them on the basis of the principles of democracy, equality, freedom, principles that we often do not value until the moment we lose them".

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Today's ceremony also featured the intervention of the President of the B'nai B'rith Philanthropic Society, Jaime Fuchs Steier, and the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, through a video.