Israeli MKs who visited Auschwitz on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday were joined by European parliamentarians.
The European parliamentarians’ visit to Auschwitz was an initiative of the European Friends of Israel (EFI) and the Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC), which partnered the Knesset members with their European counterparts.
Daniele Hoffman-Rispal, a member of the French National Assembly, told Arutz Sheva following the visit that it was important to keep the memory of what happened in the Holocaust alive.
The visit to Auschwitz, said former Mongolian Prime Minister Rinchinnyamyn Amarjargal, is “a reminder that we will never allow to repeat this dark episode in history.”
Lucio Malan, a member of the Italian Senate for whom it was his first visit to Auschwitz, described the experience as “shocking.”
“I’ve read and heard a lot about what happened here, but seeing it is really shocking. It reminds one of the responsibilities that many countries, not only Germany, had in this,” said Malan.
“Unfortunately, hostility to the Jews and to the State of Israel is very much alive, even in Europe, so it is the duty of anyone who shares the value of mankind, of democracy, of freedom” to fight against anything that might cause another Holocaust, he told Arutz Sheva.
Vladimir Sloutsker, chairman of EFI Management Board, said before the trip, "With anti-Semitism at record levels across many parts of Europe, including denial of the Holocaust and incessant vilification against the State of Israel, there has never been a more pressing time for European Parliamentarians and elected officials to show a clear sign of their determination and willingness to fight anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of Israel, and to honor the memory of those who perished during the Holocaust.
“EFI and IJC are proud and honored to be working with the Knesset to facilitate the participation of 18 senior European Parliamentarians and leaders from France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Spain for this historic and special event," he added.
In addition to participating in official International Holocaust Day commemoration at Auschwitz-Birkenau, European lawmakers had the opportunity to meet their fellow Parliamentarians from around the world and held a dialogue and exchange of ideas with their colleagues from the Knesset on strengthening relations between Israel and Europe.