Tue. Aug 3rd, 2021

The sufferings and deaths during the Holocaust serve as a grim reminder for everyone that there is no room for prejudice, injustice, antisemitism, and racism, Israel Ambassador Rafael Harpaz said Thursday as the world honors the 6 million Jews who died under the hands of the German Nazis.

(PHOTO: VIRTUAL CEREMONY. Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz lights one of the six candles to commemorate the 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. The Embassy held a virtual ceremony on Thursday (April 8, 2021) to commemorate the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day. (Screenshot from Israel Embassy virtual conference) PNA)

“We all need to learn from these trying moments of the past, it should not only be stories of suffering, heroism or victory but also a reminder to all of us that we should never tolerate prejudice, injustice, antisemitism, and racism,” he said in a virtual ceremony for the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day.

“We should uphold the idea that each one of us has the right to live free from hate and judgment in all forms. Most of all, if we are to live freely in the future we must never forget what has happened in the past,” he added.

Six candles were lit to commemorate the 6 million Jewish lives lost in the horrors of World War II and the Nazi genocide.

During this dark period of time, the Jews in German-occupied territories had to struggle for their survival. The Nazis and their accomplices murdered Jews in all possible fronts of torture- in gas chambers, mass killings, forced labor and starvation in concentration camps, and sexual and brutal physical abuse.

While most nations shut their doors, Harpaz said the brave decision President Manuel L. Quezon took back then saved 1,300 Jews from murder.

In the 1930s, Quezon decided to issue 10,000 Philippine visas to European Jews seeking to find refuge.

Then US Commonwealth Commissioner in the Philippines Paul McNutt, at great political risk, facilitated the issuance of the visas.

About 1,300 Jews from Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, former Czechoslovakia, Russia, Italy, Latvia, and Bulgaria eventually found their way to the Philippines.For Harpaz, this Open Door Policy of Quezon “embodied the responsibility of a true leader.” SOVEREIGNPH

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