Last Friday, February 3rd, at midday - and for the second year running - we attended Alicante Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) to witness the annual International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust and the Prevention of Crimes against Humanity.
The event, which took place in the Blue Room, and lasted for an hour and a half, was opened by the Deputy Lord Mayor and Councillor for Urban Development, Miguel Angel Pavon, and the Councillor for Historical and Democratic Memory, Maria Jose Espuch.
Mr Pavon spoke about the key historical date, 27th January 1945, when advancing Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He said:
"We are living in times in which exclusionist and discriminatory attitudes are advancing in a worrying manner in countries around us, and history teaches usthat this attitude ends up in situations that have, in the past, generated crimes against humanity. We hope that this act may, in some small way, contribute towards thwarting this".
Ms Espuch mentioned that:
"There are no words to express the horror that the Nazi regime sowed during World War II".
She then went on to say that:
"Because we do not want to forget that terrible episode in the history in Europe, the Historical and Democratic Memory Office propose to give a street name to these victims of the Holocaust. We need to leave a legacy for those who come after us, the young people and children, because they are the ones who must carry on preserving the memory of what happened so that it does not happen again".
We were greatly impressed by both town hall officials, and certainly by Ms Espuch’s initiative.
Besides Alicante Councilors, others included the Chief of Police and representatives from the Red Cross and the Armed Forces. Speakers who spoke movingly were Armando Azubel, on behalf of the Alicante Jewish Community, and Alexandrina Moura, who represented the Romany Community in memory of the gypsies slaughtered by the Nazis.
Students from various schools in Alicante helped with the narration of the program, played music, and lighted six candles to honour and remember the six million Jews killed during the Shoah. The prayer - El Moleh Rachamin - was recited by one of the members of Alicante Synagogue.
I had a chance to talk to one of the teachers who was escorting the pupils. A history teacher, she explained that she is currently teaching about the events in WWII and this event provided an excellent opportunity to introduce her students to the subject of the Holocaust. I thanked her for her efforts and teaching, and shook hands with many of the students as they walked out of the room.
All in all, a very touching and moving event.
Click HERE to view the pictures in the Gallery.
Friday 28th December 2018
Thursday 3rd January 2019