Taipei, (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day with the message “Never Forget. Never Again,” vowing that Taiwan will continue to stand together with the international community to ensure that this message is never lost or distorted.
Taiwan joined the world to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during World War II, in an event jointly organized by the representative offices of Israel and Germany in Taipei.
“We affirm our responsibilities to ‘Never Forget. Never Again.’ We must continue to reflect on all that we can do as individuals – and together as a country – to ensure that these events can never take place again anywhere in the world,” Tsai said.
She pledged that Taiwan will strengthen human rights education for the coming generations.
This year’s event featured an exhibition honoring Ho Feng-shan (何鳳山), the diplomat of the Republic of China who issued thousands of visas to Jews that enabled them to escape from certain death when he was the ROC’s consul-general in Vienna from 1938 to 1939.
Ho was among the only 36 diplomats from a little over 20 countries who had proven that there were people willing to “put everything at stake in the fight for more moral goodness” under the most difficult circumstances, Israel’s Representative to Taiwan Asher Yarden said.
Yarden stressed that the holocaust was “eruption of unique hatred” against Jews although the universal version that connects the victims of the holocaust to the victims of the other horrific evils is a noble version.
He said that the version is not firmly rooted in the appreciation that the Holocaust is first and foremost a Jewish story and the view can become dangerous and immoral.
Yarden said that “after the Holocaust took away so much from the Jews, we must not take the Holocaust itself away from the Jews,” or it would be an unforgivable betrayal of the memory of the 6 million Jewish victims.
“It’s personal responsibility and duty of each and every civilized being no matter where, no matter when to stand by the right and just. It is also the moral obligation of every government to do whatever it can to educate its people to counter the wrong and unjust,” he said in conclusion.
German Representative to Taiwan Martin Eberts said that there are at least four lessons from the history of Holocaust that people have to keep in mind.
“Firstly, we need to continue studying the Holocaust and its root causes,” Eberts said. “It’s the task that every generation has to take on again.”
Secondly, Eberts said that holocaust education is not only an issue of European or Western society. “There are lessons to be learned for mankind in any society,” he said.
“Thirdly, studying the history of Holocaust is not a divisive experience, but a healing one,” Eberts said.
“Finally, learning about the suffering and the heroism of holocaust victims and survivors provide our younger generations with beautiful examples of moral integrity, even sainted behaviors. Some of the names have been remembered worldwide. Their lives will not be lost in vain.”
(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)