100 Parliamentarians from across Europe - including Ministers - are gathered in Auschwitz today and tomorrow are being urged to concretely tighten and toughen antisemitism laws in their countries through direct legislation drafted by the Brussels based European Jewish Association (EJA) and the European Action and Protection League (APL).
The two-day delegation - organised by the EJA and the APL, and other partners from across Europe - takes in a symposium In Krakow and gala dinner on day one, followed by a visit and memorial service to Auschwitz-Birkenau on day two. It has been designed to mark the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the death camp.
The meetings and gala dinner address the need for increased Holocaust education in Europe as a top priority, and also include a recommitment from all those present to the shared fight against hatred towards Jews by enhancing and strengthening national legislation regarding stereotyping and the sale for profit of nazi memorabilia.
The Parliamentarians, made up of Ministers, Senators, MPs and MEPs from across the political and national spectrum, heard from Jewish Community leaders, holocaust survivors, a former neo-Nazi, and those who have been directly affected by antisemitism such as the Grand-daughter of 85 Year old Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll, who was murdered in her flat in March 2018.
EJA Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said the best way to honour those who died during the holocaust was not by remembrance alone, but by positive and decisive action in stamping out Antisemitism:
“In the days leading to the anniversary there will be many speeches, and people will say never again. But we need much more than this. One of our sages, Hillel said, “if not now, when?” We believe that the ongoing fight against antisemitism will define the kind of Europe that we all want to live in. Jews cannot be armchair generals in this battle. We must take the lead, and lead by example
Rabbi Shlomo Koves of the Action and Protection League remarked, "The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is probably going to be the last one when we still have the survivors present who remember the horrors of the Holocaust. Who could have imagined that 75 years later the vicious, hateful ideology that had brought about their suffering would still exist and continue to flourish in the world? Time has come for action. Jewish communities, politicians, and civilians who hold the fate of our shared values dear must come together to ensure we are taking concrete steps to uproot the oldest type of racial hatred."
"Collecting data helps us better understand the situation we are dealing with," Rabbi Koves added. "That's why APL is launching an unprecedented European program on monitoring anti-Semitic assaults in all the countries of the continent along with a representative public opinion survey on anti-Semitic attitudes in the 14 countries with a substantial Jewish population. We are planning to introduce new legislation and launch formal and informal educational projects, which will contribute to our joint fight against anti-Semitism."
Aharon Tamir, Deputy Chairman of March of the Living, who will address the symposium, added: "In recent years, antisemitism has become an epidemic which shows no sign of disappearing. Whilst meetings between world leaders on the subject are important, now is the time for decisive action. Each representative who has visited Auschwitz with us, is obliged to make the required changes in their home country. We have passed the turning point, time to take the necessary steps to combat antisemitism is running out."