A ceremony marking International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust took place, Friday, 30 January 2014 on the forecourt of the Palais de l’Europe. The Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland started the memorial service followed by Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Nachman Shai, Chairperson of the Observer Delegation of Israel to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Sebihana Skenderovksa, Vice-President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum.
"Forty-nine years ago, and precisely on January 1945, the nightmare of thousands of Roma inmates in the Auschwitz concentration camp came to an end. Several other thousands did not survive that nightmare and finished in the gas chambers. (…)The liberation of Auschwitz marked the victory of freedom and democracy over totalitarianism and racist ideology. But, I may ask, for how long?” reminded Ms Skenderovska.
The representative of the ERTF insisted on the fact that this commemoration was a way to keep the memory alive but that “it will remain a hollow ceremony if our European governments do not translate that memory into action. The hour is grave and the danger imminent. Act now - firmly - before it is too late".
The commemoration marks the end of the Holocaust and the liberation on 27 January, 1945 by Russian troops of the largest Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
To read the speech of Ms Skenderovska click here.