International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A moving ceremony took place on January 27, 2020 at the Menorah monument dedicated to the victims of the Kielce ghetto. The ceremony started with a speech of Bogdan Białek, President of the Jan Karski Society, who said: “Poles, when they talk about the Holocaust, they talk about Poles, about those wonderful and noble people who saved others and who betrayed others. They place the blame on others, look for evidence of innocence. But on January 27, or on August 19-21, we have to think first and foremost about the victims, those who died alone at that time, who remain alone today because they are not present in our memory. They are not present in our collective memory, because we know nothing about it and about them. Because we don’t care”. The President of the Society also warned that the lack of memory results in the lack of resistance to dividing people into better and worse and this means that the tragedy from over 75 years ago may happen again.

Then, fragments of the Declaration of the International Stockholm Forum on the Holocaust of January 2000 were read out. The document, also signed by Poland, speaks of a universal message that results from this crime. By reading a statement of the Roma Association in Poland, we recalled the half-million group of Roma and Sintii victims.

A prayer of a psalm was said for the victims. Also a Christian prayer and Kaddish were recited. The moment in which the participants of the ceremony shouted out the names of the Kielce Holocaust victims known to us was extremely dramatic – everyone got a card with a fragment of the list based on the findings of the Yad Vashem Institute. At the end of the ceremony flowers were laid and candles lit at the monument.