International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Remarks by
Thomas R. Hastings
Deputy Chief of Mission
OAS Permanent Council
February 1, 2023

Mr. Chair, I take the floor under Other Business to highlight the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was designated as January 27 by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005.

We mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day by honoring the memories of the six million Jews and others systematically persecuted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.  We also honor the survivors among us who bear witness and inspire us all to stand against antisemitism and other forms of hate in today’s world.

As that survivor generation now passes into history, we must find new ways to educate future generations about the Holocaust.  The testimonies of survivors and their descendants remind us to be vigilant in defending the dignity and human rights of all.

Yet, even on this occasion of remembrance, there is room for hope.  The noble acts of courage performed by liberators, rescuers, and the Righteous Among Nations remind us that we are never powerless.

In our own time, this means choosing to confront bigotry and hatred in all of its forms – including anti-Semitism.  It means condemning any attempts to deny the occurrence of the Holocaust.  It also means doing our part to ensure that remaining survivors receive some measure of justice and the support they need to live out their lives in dignity.

Mr. Chair, the legacy of the Holocaust makes it all the more important for  us to reflect on more contemporary cases of genocide and hate, particularly as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide this coming year.

Sadly, even here in my own country, we have seen over and over again that hate and antisemitism never go away.  They only hide – waiting to re-emerge whenever they are given just a little bit of oxygen.

As part of our efforts to respond, the United States has taken action by appointing the first Ambassador-level Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. We are developing a national strategy to fight antisemitism. We have also secured the largest increase in funding ever for the physical security of non-profits – including synagogues and Jewish Community Centers.

Here at the OAS, we acknowledge the appointment of Fernando Lottenberg as Commissioner to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, whose fundamental responsibility is to join forces in the Western Hemisphere to confront the scourge of discrimination and harm. Chairman, when genocide, crimes against humanity, and other atrocities are being committed anywhere, we must continue to ask ourselves about the consequences of our action—and our inaction.  That is how we must strive together to fulfill the promise of Never Again.  We will not forget.

I would request that this Council now undertake a moment of silence in recognition of this important day. Thank you.