Holocaust Memorial Day

The Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration is designed to cherish the memory of
all of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. A candle-lighting ceremony is an integral part
of the commemoration at which candles are lit for all the victims. Six of the candles
represent the six million Jews who perished. The commemoration serves as an
ongoing reminder of the dangers of racism and intolerance and provides lessons
from the past that are relevant today.

The candles are symbols of different groups of victims and the crocuses are symbols of new life.

On Sunday 25th January 2015 the Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration took place in
the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, The Mansion House. Among those who
took part in the ceremony were President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins; Chief Justice, Susan
Denham; Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie
Flanagan; Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke; Holocaust survivors Suzi Diamond and Tomi
Reichental; and the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai. Former president, Mary
McAleese, also attended this ceremony, organised by the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland
in association with the Department of Justice and Equality, and Dublin City Council.
Because of our partnership's collective involvement in the Crocus Project I was privileged to
receive an invitation to attend this commemoration service.

The service was very simple, powerful and moving. The keynote speaker was President
Michael D Higgins. He reminded the gathered audience that the world had should not allow
those killed in the Holocaust to "die twice" by forgetting them. We had a duty to ensure that
they should be remembered. The world has a duty to remember and draw lessons from the
horrors carried out by the Nazis as our direct human ties to the Holocaust began to fade. He
“For some, the burden of that past is too heavy, too painful to remember. However, forgetting
the past . . . can in itself be a harmful and damaging act."
Through remembering we could “gain release from past wrongs and acquire also the
resolution to anticipate revivals of hate and exclusion”. He also remarked that while
remembering the “very horrific” events, we must also remember there was light,
“There is good to be found in the world, and there are good people who will stand against
hatred, destruction and intolerance and will carry the torch of truth and light with them.”

Minister forJustice, Frances Fitzgerald, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Flanagan, speak with
Israeli Ambassador, Boaz Modai.

Minister for Justice, Ms Frances Fitzgerald read the words of Simone Veil, a Holocaust
survivor, and founder of the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, who noted it was the survivors
who first acknowledged their responsibility for passing on knowledge of the Holocaust,
“The Shoah should never be diminished, denied, used for other ends, or trivialised”

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Charles Flanagan, read a summary of the Declaration of the
Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust issued in January 2000. Here is an
important sentence from that document,
"Together with our European partners and the wider international community, we share a
commitment to remember the victims who perished, to respect the survivors still with us, and

to reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for a democratic and tolerant society, free of the
evils of prejudice and other forms of bigotry."

Chairman of Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, Maurice Cohen with Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Charles Flanagan

There were victim readings for other categories of Holocaust victims. There were two
holocaust survivors present, Suzi Diamond and Tomi Reichental, who both spoke about their
family circumstances and experiences. They spoke of the importance of remembering the
victims of the Holocaust. Another survivor in Ireland, Jan Kaminski, was represented by his
daughter, Jadzia Kaminski.

Holocaust survivors, Suzi Diamond and Tomi Reichental

Boaz Modai, Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, reminded us that six million Jews, one third of
the world's Jewish people, died during the Holocaust and that "never again" will Jewish
people be threatened with extermination. The names of 300 victims were remembered at
this ceremony.
There is one public Holocaust Memorial monument in Ireland. It was unveiled in Listowel in
1995. Here are some words moving and powerful words spoken by Paddy Fitzgibbon at that
unveiling ceremony:
Our generation, and the generation or two after us, will be the last that will be able to say
that we stood and shook the hands of some of those who survived.
Go home from this place and tell your children, and tell your grandchildren, and tell your
great grand-children, that today in Listowel, you looked into the eyes that witnessed the
most cataclysmic events ever unleashed by mankind on mankind.
Tell them today that you met people who will still be remembered, and still talked about, and
still wept over 10,000 years from now - because if they are not, there will be no hope for us
at all.
The Holocaust happened, and it can happen again, and every one of us, if only out of our
own sense of self-preservation, has a solemn duty that nothing like it ever happens again.