Citizens of Sarajevo, representatives of government, foreign embassies and the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina laid wreaths at Sarajevo's Jewish cemetery 'Borak on Friday, on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Vladimir Andrle, president of the Jewish cultural and educational association La Benevolencija, said on this occasion that the Holocaust began with silent centuries-old antisemitism, by marking, labeling, and declaring Jews national enemies, and then destroying their synagogues, property, and ultimately the Jews who lived in Europe.
As he said, antisemitism is still alive today in the world, but he pointed out that the Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina feel safe here.
“Unfortunately, on a global level, antisemitism is on the rise. Today we see what we saw in the 30's of the last century, we see that the Jews in Europe are being attacked, that their property is being destroyed and that a general anti-Semitic war is being waged against the Jews, in the same way accusing us of being enemies of the people, the state and the government. From this place I would like to send a message that we can all participate together and fight against all kinds of xenophobia. We would like to send a message of peace, love, dialogue and togetherness. After the Holocaust, the world said ‘never again’ in order to prevent any future genocides that might occur. Unfortunately, humanity quickly forgot that, so we had the case of Srebrenica, genocides took place in Cambodia and other places, but also many other war crimes against the civilian population just because they are different,” Andrle said.
The day was also observed with a commemorative academy at the premises of the Jewish Municipality in Sarajevo.
“The biggest tragedy in the world where six million people died just because they were Jews. The Holocaust ended with the end of World War II and the closing of the camps and when the world said ‘never again’. Unfortunately, genocides took place after that in Cambodia, Sudan, Rwanda and in our country, in Srebrenica. Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted this date back in 2006. The Jewish community was honored to be the bearer of this activity,” said Jakob Finci, the Chairman of the Jewish Community of BiH.
European Union ambassador Johann Sattler also addressed the event, saying that this was a commemoration of a moment in history that is difficult to understand.
“As time passes, we think about the Holocaust from a more comfortable position, thinking that it is in the past. Antisemitism is still not over and is present among us, we must confront it. Bosnia and Herzegovina has the experience of a war where innocent people were persecuted and killed exclusively on ethnic basis. We are witnessing revisionism and genocide denial. It's a warning sign that we have to confront,” Sattler was quoted as saying.