UN, Embassy of Israel mark 75th Holocaust remembrance day

UN Resident Coordinator, ad interim, Iori Kato, lights one of six candles to commemorate the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust

MANILA (27 January 2020) – The Embassy of Israel and the United Nations (UN) in the Philippines marked today the 75th annual observance of Holocaust remembrance by recalling the part that a former Philippine president played in saving Jewish refugees during World War II and by emphasizing the role of education in preventing future acts of genocide. The Holocaust refers to the murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Addressing about 100 students of the Philippine Women’s University, Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz lauded former President Manuel Quezon’s Open Door Policy to Jewish refugees, when “most leaders of the world preferred to shut their eyes and doors towards the Jews.”

UN Philippines Charges D’Affaires, Iori Kato, said, “I was very inspired when I learned that former president Quezon, in the midst of the fierce war against Japan, sympathized with the persecuted Jewish people, issued tens of thousands of visas to them, and offered safe haven to more than 1,300 Jewish families to the Philippines so that they could escape from the Nazis.”

The lighting of six candles during the event recalled the six million Jews who had not been as lucky and perished during the Holocaust.

 Harpaz underscored the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.

“The number of Holocaust survivors is decreasing each day and in a decade or so, there will be very few of them to tell the story to the younger generation,” said Harpaz. “Therefore, there is an utmost importance to commemorate the International Holocaust Memorial Day.”

In 2005, the UN General Assembly passed the Resolution 60/7 designating January 27th as the annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. the day marks the anniversary of the liberation by Soviet troops of the Auschwitz death camp on January 27, 1945.

The Resolution reaffirmed that “the Holocaust will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.”

Kato said that “in order to prevent that scale of heinous crimes and grave human rights violations from happening again, we have to remember what was done.  We tell ourselves not to forget about that history.”

The Holocaust commemorative event was participated in by members of the diplomatic community, members of the Jewish Association of the Philippines, and members of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. [Ends]