The European Jewish Congress (EJC), in partnership with The European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism, held the official European annual commemoration event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament.

EJC Executive Vice President and CEO Raya Kalenova said that the event had a "very special meaning" this year "because anti-Semitism grows, and populism and extremism grows in Europe."

"We are now four months before the European elections, and we have to show to the world what extremism and populism, what catastrophes they can bring to our society." she added.

She said that it was important to listen to the testimonies of Holocaust survivors while they are still around.

Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and Vice President of the Council of European Rabbis, said that the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is important because "it gives Europe a concrete day when they can look back and study the lessons and the effects of the Holocaust on European society."

"It gives all of the European peoples and all of the governments of Europe the possibility to look around at today's society and see what's wrong and why are we in a situation that - G-d forbid - reminds us of things that happened, terrible things that happened 75 years ago, when everyone was sure that they would never repeat themselves?

"How is it that we have come to a situation today that they can outlaw shechita (ritual slaughter), they can outlaw brit milah (circumcision), and the Jews feel unsafe in many cities and in many places throughout Europe?" he asked.