Recalling Holocaust is vital to avoid falling back into the abyss, says UN official

6 April 2005

Sixty years after the Holocaust, the genocide of European Jewry and others still provides a powerful wake-up call to the world to speak out in the face of barbarism, or else risk encouraging through its passivity further acts of inhumanity, a senior United Nations official has warned.

“The victims came from different countries and backgrounds. They were ordinary women, men and children. They were like us. Acts of genocide do not merely happen to ‘others,’” Under-Secretary-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze said yesterday at the inauguration of an exhibition entitled “Auschwitz: The Depth of the Abyss” at the UN’s Geneva headquarters.

“Even when we find it hard to face the gruesome illustrations of the Holocaust, we need to remember. We need to see – to feel – the depth of the abyss to ensure that we do not descend into it again,” he added.

“We must never be complacent when acts of barbarism take place. We must speak up and act whenever and wherever we witness cruelty and violation of human rights. If not, our indifference, or our collective inability to act, will aid the inhumanity.

“Sixty years ago, the United Nations was founded on the human family’s collective commitment to ensuring that the horrors of the Holocaust would never re-occur. We owe it to all the victims of the Holocaust – and victims of other acts of genocide – to honour this commitment,” said Mr. Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG).

 

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