A cry from the heart. On the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, Margot Friedländer, a Holocaust survivor, testified this Thursday before the European Parliament. She called for action to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and fight against its instrumentalization, while the symbol of the yellow star has been displayed on numerous occasions by certain opponents of vaccines against Covid during demonstrations in Europe, in particular in France, Italy and Belgium.
“It is with great concern that I see that the Holocaust, like the war of conquest and extermination waged by the Nazis, is falling more and more into oblivion,” said the 100-year-old woman. “Today, I see how the memory of what happened is politically exploited, sometimes even ridiculed and trampled on,” she denounced. “I saw in disbelief, at a hundred years old, how a symbol of our exclusion by the Nazis, the yellow star, is now shamelessly used by the new enemies of democracy, in the middle of the street – and in a democracy !- in order to present themselves as victims”.
“On a day like today, we must unite so that the memory of the Holocaust remains authentic and is not exploited by anyone”, continued this Berliner, who was deported to the concentration camp of Theresienstadt (today in the Czech Republic) when she was in her twenties, and whose mother and brother died in Auschwitz.
“This must never happen again”, she repeated, calling for “vigilance”. “You can’t love everyone, but everyone has the right to respect. There is no Christian, Jewish or Muslim blood, there is only human blood, ”added the centenarian, who regularly testifies to schoolchildren. “Be human,” she launched in a speech greeted by a standing ovation from the members of the European Parliament, an institution chaired between 1979 and 1982 by Simone Veil, herself a survivor of the Holocaust.
“Your mission is also ours,” replied Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, who in October presented her first strategy for the “fight against anti-Semitism and support for Jewish life”, intended in particular to promote transmission of the history of the Holocaust. “Anti-Semitism has not disappeared, it still poisons our societies,” said Ursula von der Leyen. “A staggering 70% of European Jews do not feel safe wearing a yarmulke or a Star of David. And during this pandemic Jews have been the target of all kinds of conspiracy theories and hate speech. But this time we will not close our eyes, ”assured the manager.
“Europe is the home of the Jews and the defense of European democracy requires the fight against anti-Semitism”, also declared the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, during this ceremony which ended with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.