“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
On 31 July, the IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, attended the closing ceremony of the national competition "Holocaust Memory 2016” in Bucharest.
"Holocaust Memory 2016” is a national competition for secondary school and highschool students from all the Romanian counties and is part of the Holocaust education activities undertaken by the Ministry of Education and supported by the Romanian IHRA Chairmanship.
As part of the competition, which started on the 28th of July, the 76 participating students had to paint or design a piece of art symbolic of the Holocaust. The students also visited the Choral Temple, where they learnt about the traditions of the Jewish community in Romania.
In his intervention, the IHRA Chair congratulated the history teachers for their continuous efforts to facilitate understanding of the Holocaust for students whose age varied from 14 to 18 years old. Ambassador Constantinescu also stated: “What I hope that the students learnt from this experience, is that nothing is more dangerous to our societies, to our country, to Europe and to peace and stability worldwide, than indifference. Nothing can justify irresponsibility and indifference when they are detrimental to dignity and life. Ensuring the active involvement of all of us, of each youngster who is now in school, in combating any form of extremism, intolerance, antisemitism, and racism is a critical responsibility that concerns the whole of society today.”
Referring to combating antisemitism, the IHRA Chair added that "we also learn from this exercise the importance of actively combatting the old demons – antisemitism and intolerance - which will not be eradicated anytime soon. But it is our duty to fight them, while trying to instil in the minds and the souls of the youngsters, the democratic values of our societies. This is also a responsibility that had been passed on to us for years by the person whose name is related to the activity of the National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania „Elie Wiesel”. Elie Wiesel passed away this year, but his activity inspired Romania to re-evaluate its national history and to assume the tragedy of the Holocaust.”