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Speech at Ceremony to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

Speech at Ceremony to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
Strasbourg, Wednesday 25 January 2018

Mr President, Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, I first of all recall the memories of those who survived it.

I recall the words of one of my compatriots – Primo Levi – who was the first to make a detailed written recollection of the horrors and atrocities that happened in Auschwitz.

His famous book "If this is a man" starts with a poem which I would like to quote

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find warm food
And friendly faces when you return home.
Consider if this is a man
Who works in mud,
Who knows no peace,
Who fights for a crust of bread,
Who dies by a yes or no.

Let us think about these words as we end this ceremony.

They remind us that the Holocaust is not just a dark page of our history. The Holocaust gives us an example – the ugliest, most appalling and disgraceful – and yet a REAL example of what happens when human kind loses sight of the fundamental values of humanity.

My country – Italy – is about to mark the sombre anniversary of the adoption of the so-called "Racial Laws". On this occasion, the President of Italy nominated Liliana Segre, an Italian Holocaust survivor, Senator for life. It therefore gives me a special honour to speak today on behalf of the Members of Parliamentary Assembly as well as on behalf the members of the Italian Parliament, including Liliana Segre.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Council of Europe's mission is to uphold the values of human dignity and fundamental rights in order to protect the society we live in against intolerance and hate, as well as any form of discrimination that may divide us.

Every one of us must spare no effort to ensure that, in our Common European Home, NEVER AGAIN may the darkest pages of our common history be repeated.