Speech at Exposition in Commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust in the Congress of Peru - Dr. William Soto Santiago
Dr. William Soto Santiago
Global Ambassador of the Global Embassy of Activists for peace
President of the Parliamentary League of the Peru-Israel Amity, Congressman Juan Castagnino Lema; National Officer of Information of the United Nations for Peru, Mr. Christian Sanchez; Cultural, Commercial Attaché, and of International Cooperation of the Consulate of Israel in Peru, Mr. Yossi Aviram; Minister Counselor and Commissary of Business of the Consulate of Germany, Mr. Oliver Schramm; representative of the Parliamentary League of Amity Peru-Israel, Congresswoman Dr. Luis Maria Cuciliza Torre; survivor of the Holocaust, Mr. Hirsz Litmanowicz; members of the Jewish community, ladies and gentlemen; good morning.
November 1st, 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved to assign January 27 as the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.” United Nations chose this date because January 27, 1945, was when the Soviet army rounded up the military German forces and liberated the prisoners that were in subhuman conditions that were found detained in the concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Today and forever we will remember the victims of the Nazi genocide, for we are conscious that one day is not enough to remember the survivors of the different genocides. It is necessary to promote, establish, and execute activities in different political, social, cultural, academic, and governmental spheres, so that, in accordance with the United Nations Organization, we reflect day to day about the causes, the effects, the consequences, and lessons of this international crime.
During many years, we have wrongfully thought and we have spread the idea that the Holocaust was a crime only against the Jewish people. The Holocaust did target all the Jewish people as direct victims, whose extermination was intended, but it was also a crime against other groups and peoples. In reality, it was a crime against the human family.
This horrifying act left universal lessons that we must teach in schools and universities, as an efficient tool to prevent and avoid the future execution of genocidal acts of this nature, that make the evil, hate, and intolerance that human beings can express against their fellow citizens' overflow.
Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents, physically and mentally disabled, were considered “impure” by the Nazi regime, and as such enemies of the “pure” of blood.
What drove Hitler was the ethnic hate against the Jewish people. This hate was transformed into a fundamentally racist ideology based on the idea of an alleged hierarchy of the Aryan race before the things considered inferior or parasitic, whose elimination was necessary; and thus they justified the extermination; an extremist ideology that the Nazis implemented beginning in their schools.
The Holocaust is a stain of indignity and disgrace in the page of life of the human family; because not only were those who committed the acts guilty of the death of millions of people, but also those who kept silence, who denied refuge to the victims, and became accomplices of the barbarity.
The words of the then Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, expressed in 1961 gain further currency today: “We want the public opinion to know that not only was the German Nazi group guilty of the destruction of six million European Jews. We want all the nations to know that they should be ashamed.”
In the Resolution 60/7 of November 1st, 2005 the United Nations Organization, “Urges Member States to develop educational programmes that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.”
And in the Resolution 61/255 of January 26, 2007, “rejects efforts to deny the Holocaust which, by ignoring the historical fact of those terrible events, increase the risk they will be repeated.”
In accordance to these Resolutions of the UN, the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, has as a purpose to promote the teaching of “The Holocaust, Paradigm of Genocide” in schools and universities, taking the history of the Holocaust as a necessary reference to prevent another genocide in humanity, to reflect on the importance of an Education based on constitutional values and ethnic principles, that allow the student to take actions in defense of Human Rights before the manifestations of violence, injustice, or intolerance, that threaten their environment as well as other cultures, people, or nations.
With this end in mind, the Global Embassy carries out Forums in different universities of Latin America with the subject “Educating to Remember – The Holocaust, Paradigm of Genocide.”
The Embassy also promotes the creation of a law to include “The Holocaust, Paradigm of Genocide” as a subject of study in the educational system of different Latin American countries.
The Global Embassy of Activist for Peace also promotes the project “Traces to Remember” designed with the objective to keep the Holocaust survivors testimony alive and to make known the universal lessons left by this dark stage that divided the history of humanity in a before and after.
As part of this initiative, a plaque like today’s and for a month will be exhibited in this enclosure of the Ministry, with the palm prints of a Holocaust survivor and of their descendants.
In a similar way spaces of study are formed and of reflection through the educational forums in universities, institutes, professional colleges, and schools.
The Holocaust is an act of the past that has living teaching for present and future generations; acts that, even though they happened in another continent, will allow students to learn about the consequences of intolerance, hatred, discrimination, prejudices, stereotypes, disrespect for life and human dignity. It will help them to identify the warning signs of the appearance of extremist governments, groups or people that could trigger a new international crime, whether it be a genocide, a crime against humanity, a war crime or a crime of aggression.
Genocide is not an accident of nature, it is a premeditated crime that can be foreseen, and as such, it can be prevented. As the Italian thinker and professor of Criminal Law, Francesco Carrara would say: “He who foresees, prevents.”
In fact, at the present time there are certain foreseen conditions for another genocide to happen; however, it is preventable if we educate the world population that we cannot be indifferent nor passive before the actual circumstances of intolerance and discrimination. And in seeing in Latin America and in Europe the reappearance of extremist groups, especially neo-Nazis, we realize that we are the warning signs that call us to action.
All the legislators, authorities, and educators of the world have the freedom, but also, the political responsibility and the ethical and moral commitment to promote and enact laws in defense of Human Rights that guarantee the right to life and outlaw all forms of discrimination.
The teaching of the genesis, history, and repercussions of the Holocaust as Paradigm of Genocide will raise awareness to new generations, the ravages of hatred, the intolerance, and discrimination, will allow them to identify the warning signs to counteract them, and preventing the recurrence of another genocide.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is better to educate to prevent, than judge to punish.
Thank you very much.