Millions of people murdered, tortured and persecuted by the Nazi regime and its collaborators during World War II were commemorated on Wednesday in Turkey.
Turkey’s EU Minister Volkan Bozkir, the rector of Ankara University Prof. Erkan Ibis, the head of the Turkish delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Tunc Ugdul and Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva participated in the event at Ankara University in the Turkish capital.
Bozkir said that despite decades having passed since the Holocaust, today it is not possible to say that xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism were buried in the annals of history.
“We observe with regret the large increase in racist attacks in several European countries in recent years,” Bozkir said.
He said that the “rise of extreme-right parties raises concerns for the future regarding the continuance of the tradition of co-existence and of a multicultural society.”
Jan. 27, which marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, serves each year as Holocaust Memorial Day to commemorate the millions who died and honor those who survived.
The rector of Ankara University Prof. Ibis said that “if we want our next generations not to experience similar pains, we need to stick heart and soul to education in the four corners of the world.”
To Ambassador Ugdul, the Holocaust is “the most painful example” of people persecuting others “because of religion, race or sexual preference”.
Chief Rabbi Haleva said that the Holocaust represented a challenge to God’s purpose in creating men.
A short film called The Liberation of Auschwitz was screened and candles were lit at the event, which was also attended by U.S. ambassador to Turkey John Bass and Romanian ambassador Radu Onofrei.