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Dublin: -3°C Tuesday 2 March 2021

Holocaust victims and survivors remembered in online commemoration ceremony

A digital broadcast from the Mansion House heard from Ireland’s last two Holocaust survivors, Tomi Reichental and Suzi Diamond.

This year's Holocaust memorial event was broadcast from the Mansion House in Dublin without a physical audience
This year's Holocaust memorial event was broadcast from the Mansion House in Dublin without a physical audience

THE IMPORTANCE OF education and remembrance have been emphasised this evening at an online Holocaust commemoration ceremony.

Ireland’s two remaining survivors Tomi Reichental and Suzi Diamond shared their recollections of the Holocuast, while secondary school students read from the Scroll of Names to remember victims of the Nazis’ genocide.

The event, which was organised by the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland, was broadcast online from the Mansion House in Dublin without a physical audience.

Tomi Reichental, who was born in Czechslovakia in 1935, was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944 at age nine and later moved to Ireland in 1959.

Similarly, Suzi Diamond, was deported to Bergen-Belsen from Hungary and was two years old when the camp was liberated in 1945. She moved to Dublin as a child.

Speakers commemorated the six million Jewish people and millions of other victims who were persecuted and murdered during the Holocaust.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu said that “tonight, we recall the suffering inflicted on the Jewish people of Europe and all those of other faiths and ethnicities persecuted during the Holocaust”.

“We will reflect on this and on the suffering of people still being inflicted throughout the world today,” Chu said.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Addressing the event, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that education was key to remembering the Holocaust and combatting racism.

Martin said that “despite the ongoing pandemic, the Holocaust Education Trust has continued their education programmes, including the Crocus Project, where children plant yellow crocus bulbs recalling the Star of David in memory of the children who perished in the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities”.

“Education is a very important tool in deepening our understanding of the Holocaust and fighting against racism and antisemitism. It is great to see children leading the way,” Martin said.

“As we move further away from the horrors of the holocaust, the values of being able to share the personal experiences of Tomi and Suzi is incalculable, and I know the work that they have been doing for so many years in educating so many,” he said.

“On this memorial day, we remember the 6 million Jewish people – men, women and children – who were brutally killed by the Nazis. We remember the others who perished at the hands of the Nazis, including members of the Roma community, people with disabilities, gay men and lesbians, other religious minorities, and those who spoke up in defense of minorities.”

“The Holocaust occurred in an international environment of division and conflict,” Martin said.

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“The year 2020 brought huge challenges to the international community and has, I hope, brought a greater awareness of how societies change, the fragility of so much we take for granted, and of the dangers of leaving discrimination to go unchecked,” he said.

“Through remembrance and through education, we help ensure that nothing like it is every allowed to happen again.”

Chair of the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland Professor Thomas O’Dowd has warned against misinformation and its role in antisemitism.

In a statement, Dowd said that we are currently experiencing a “surge” in misinformation, an increase in antisemitism, and Holocaust denial and distortion.

“With few Holocaust survivors left to carry the burden of memory, the lessons of history grow dangerously dim,” Dowd said.

“It becomes even more important to educate generations now living. Awareness of the Holocaust strengthens our resolve to rebut antisemitism in all its manifestations, and to commit ourselves to challenging every example of intolerance that we witness.”

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