Nineteen years ago, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Memorial Day. The European Parliament and other international institutions later followed in this designation. In Spain, we commemorate the memory of the victims since that date, and every year more organizations and institutions join the initiative.
The purpose is twofold: to remember the Jewish victims and those of other groups, of the Nazi barbarism, and to promote education about the Holocaust. Every year, in all events, we repeat the phrase "so that it never happens again" like a mantra. In every social, political, academic, and professional sphere, we annually renew our commitment to the memory of those who were violently murdered by the Nazi regime.
An authoritarian regime created a context where antisemitism reigned above any prejudice, and as a result, the majority, in one way or another, participated in the disaster.
Every year, the events seemed a little further away in time, the testimonies of those who survived to tell the horror were fading due to the passage of time. But in 2023, we witnessed, incredulous, a completely unexpected and unbearable event: another attempt to exterminate Jews in a brutal, sadistic, and indiscriminate attack against women, children, and men who were killed for being Jewish or for being in the Jewish country. The unrestrained slaughter against civilian communities, against young people celebrating a festival for peace.
October 7 marks the bloodiest event against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Senselessness emerged again and caused tragedy, a traumatized country, a shocked people, and a world unsure how to react.
Or did it? Because contrary to what one might expect, the Jewish people received the worst wave of antisemitism since the Holocaust, instead of empathy, solidarity, or compassion. An antisemitism that twists and manipulates language, trivializes facts, and seeks, as the slogan goes, "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," the elimination of a people. The Jews.
Anyone who thought that antisemitism died after the Holocaust was mistaken. The Holocaust killed six million Jews but did not kill antisemitism, which has been able to adapt to the times, discourses, interests, and reasons. Antisemitism has outlived the Jews themselves. Europe, after the Holocaust, was left with almost no Jews but retained antisemitism. And current antisemitism, as with that propagated by the Nazi regime, is wielded by authoritarian regimes and authoritarian minds, making it the world's biggest hate problem today.
Antisemitism also justifies the killing of the 1,300 people murdered by the terrorist organization Hamas. They died because they were Jews or because they were with the Jews. Antisemitism is denying or trivializing the Holocaust, something that the Iranian regime practices almost daily, and as exposed in his doctoral thesis by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who recently also declared that Hitler killed Jews because they were moneylenders.
The result of distortion, of historical distortion, is that antisemitic acts have quadrupled in Spain, and Jewish communities have had to reinforce security. Constant insults and threats are received, and hatred has emerged in its worst form, leading us to confirm that it has always been here.
Spanish Jews remember the Jewish victims of antisemitism and senselessness. The trauma has returned; it is not a thing of the past. It never left. It reminds us when the raped are Jewish women, the refugees are Jews, the murdered, burned, dismembered, and kidnapped are Jews. No international humanitarian organization raises its voice to defend them. No demonstration is held in their name and in their memory.
That is why this year more than ever, in the Holocaust remembrance events, we proclaim loudly and clearly that "never again" is now. It is today, it was on October 7, and it will be again if there continue to be terrorists whose aim is to end the Jewish people, antisemites for whom the main problem is the Jews and their state, and if there are good people who, as Edmund Burke said, do nothing.