International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Statement by the High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was born out of the ashes of the Holocaust: to grant every single human being a set of rights and freedoms that are universally protected by all States. To ensure that the barbarous acts committed during the Holocaust, which stain the conscience of mankind forever, not occur again. 

And yet, during the past year some of the Holocaust’s last survivors have been killed in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, alongside the many victims of multiple war crimes, at the doorstep of the European Union.

Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi wrote:

We cannot understand Fascism, but we can and must understand from where it springs, and we must be on our guard...because what happened can happen again...For this reason, it is everyone's duty to reflect on what happened.

The only way to prevent future atrocities, is to ensure that past atrocities and their victims shall never be forgotten. 

All forms of Holocaust denial, distortion or trivialization, that also encompass Holocaust instrumentalisation as war propaganda, are against EU law and universal values. Education remains our key tool to prevent it.

In line with the EU Strategy on combatting antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, the EU will continue to work inside and outside Europe to combat Holocaust denial and antisemitism; as well as to promote freedom of religion and belief for all.

The European Union calls on and encourages countries around the world to take firm steps to develop education curricula about the Holocaust.

As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Genocide Convention, we must redouble our collective efforts to promote and protect human rights for all.

In 2023, more than ever, there are two words that should resonate in our minds: never again.

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44
Gioia Franchellucci
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 229-68041