Oswiecim/Krakow/Ljubljana – Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič attended a two-day memorial event in Poland, where he addressed the participants of a symposium on anti-Semitism in Krakow on Monday. He then visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Tuesday to deliver a speech and lay a wreath at the Auschwitz Death Wall.
Zorčič attended the two-day event in Poland at the invitation of the European Jewish Association. The event started on Monday with a symposium on anti-Semitism in Krakow.
As the opening speaker, Zorčič emphasised his pride in coming from Slovenia, a young European country that arose from a legacy of anti-fascist resistance and has done much to remember and prevent anti-Semitism in the thirty years of its existence.
Zorčič also mentioned the controversies and criticism related to the recent statements and tweets by top representatives of the Slovenian government with anti-Semitic tones, and added that such events are intolerable.
“The responsibility of public figures in safeguarding the standards of public discourse is enormous – and our words and actions must match it,” he said.
Zorčič then attended a memorial event at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Tuesday, where he delivered a speech as well.
In his opening remarks, he reiterated the terrible events of the Holocaust, also touching on the role that art played in opening the public’s eyes to the horrors and mentioning prominent Slovenian artists Zoran Mušič and Boris Pahor.
“It would be barbaric not to write, not to paint, not to remember – and not to fight against those who deny this absolute evil,” Zorčič said, reminding the public that 2,324 people from Slovenia were imprisoned in Auschwitz as well.
He then also lit a candle at the memorial to the Slovenian internees and laid a wreath at the Auschwitz Death Wall.
The annual two day event in Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau was organised by the European Jewish Association, to commemorate the horrid events of the Kristallnacht, the night between 9 and 10 November 1938.
Auschwitz (Oswiecim in Polish) was the largest concentration camp in Germany during World War II. Most of the camp inmates died in gas cells, from exhaustion, torture, starvation or from pseudo-medical experiments.
World Holocaust Remembrance Day has been commemorated around the world since 2006, on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.