Rwanda Joins the World to Honour Holocaust Victims

27 January 2021

Rwanda on Wednesday, January 27, joined the rest of the world to mark the 76th international day of commemorating victims of the Holocaust.

Orchestrated by the Nazi regime of Germany during the Second World War (1939 -1945), the Holocaust saw the killing of over six million Jews - around two-thirds of the Jewish population that were in Europe then.

The virtual commemoration was among others attended by Israeli envoy to Rwanda Ron Adam Justice Minister Johnston Busingye, Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, the Archbishop of Kigali diocese and Thomas Kurz, the German envoy to Rwanda, among others.

In his remarks, Minister Busingye said that there were a lot of lessons both the Holocaust and the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda left for the global community.

He said: "The Holocaust and the genocide against the Tutsi deserve exceptional attention, not only because of their gravity but also because of their historical significance.

"We should forever recall the failure on the part of the world and always do what was not then done in order to be sure that never again was for real this time," he added.

Ambassador Adam emphasized that commemorating the Holocaust is an opportunity to commit to shaping a better future.

"It is our duty to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to ensure that this kind of atrocities does not happen again. This is an opportunity for all of us to pause, remind ourselves of the history and commit ourselves to a better future that is peaceful and inclusive," he noted.

He added that doing so requires "working together, promoting the culture of unity and reconciliation, tolerating existing differences and living in harmony."

The same call was made by Ambassador Kurz who underscored that what happened should be a lesson.

He said: "Today we commemorate millions of Jewish victims of Nazi German frenzy. We remember and bow to honor them and their memory.

"The effort to learn from what happened for the present and the future remains a continuous challenge, an imperative task not only but especially for us Germans," he added.

The call for 'Never Again' was neglected

According to Minister Busingye, the fact that in 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a Genocide Convention and committed to 'never again' after the atrocities committed during the Second World War, but did not stop the genocide against the Tutsi from happening a few decades later leaves a task to walk the talk of 'never again'.

Busingye also reiterated that more efforts are needed in fighting genocide denial, by among others differentiating it with freedom of speech that genocide deniers and revisionists masquerade with.

Invest in education

In his remarks, Cardinal Kambanda emphasized that educating the youth about preventing genocide is vital.

"The commemoration of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust gives us a task to reconcile with God, the community, and with our history.

We need to invest in the education of the youth right from the family which is the foundation of the society so as to appreciate unity and diversity," he said.

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