Mogherini: Holocaust scarred 'civilized' Europe

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warns European anti-Semitism is alive and well on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yoni Kempinski ,

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Wednesday spoke to reporters about commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"The scar, the indelible scar that the Shoah (Holocaust) has left across Europe, is and must forever be seared into our collective memory. As Eli Wiesel said, 'to forget a Holocaust is to kill twice,'" said Mogherini, who also serves as Vice-President of the European Commission in the Juncker Commission.

"As time passes, we share a responsibility to remember the Shoah, to mourn its victims, to keep supporting the tireless engagement of the survivors in keeping the memory alive. It is not only a responsibility towards the Jewish people, it is a responsibility towards mankind, towards future generations, towards Europe itself. If we forget the dark history of our continent, we run the risk of underestimating how crucial it is to preserve peace, unity and diversity inside our continent." 

Mogherini's statements came on the same day that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited European leaders and made a speech to UNESCO. Rouhani, as well as the state of Iran, refute the historical validity of the Holocaust. 

Mogherini continued to espouse the importance of holocaust remembrance. "We must be honest enough to admit that more than 70 years after the Shoah, anti-Semitism is still alive in our 'civilized' European Union. As alive is the fear of diversity, the temptation to look for scapegoats in difficult times, instead of working at ways to make our times less difficult, for all."

"Our duty is to ensure that present and future generations are conscious of the roots of the Holocaust. Understanding evil, and how it so easily made its way into our own societies, is the first step to prevent evil from prevailing again," she said.

"We share, as European citizens and as EU institutions, the fears and concerns of so many European Jews. Our countries are duly stepping up security measures, but this is first and foremost a battle of hearts and minds against anti-Semitism and any kind of discrimination based on faith or ethnicity."

Mogherini lauded the part that the Righteous Among Nations played during the Holocaust and encouraged others to follow in their path. "While we commemorate the Shoah, we pay tribute to all the Righteous that did not surrender to fear and to the ideology of the time. They not only saved the lives of many, they kept hope alive that humanity can prevail. We need to learn from them in the difficult times we are living, and pass on to the next generations the memory of evil as well as the courage of humanity."