Sumario: EU Commission Statement on the Commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust (27 January 2007: Brussels)
Statement from Vice-president Franco Frattini, on behalf of the European Commission, on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust (27 January)
On behalf of the European Commission, I want to join in today's universal commemoration of the six million of Jews and all the other victims of the Holocaust.
On 27 January 2007, sixty-two years after the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the inherent abjection of the very design of the Holocaust, together with the horrors, suffering and death it caused, still defies human understanding. As human beings, we remain shaken by the barbarity that took place.
Today, we pay tribute to the victims, we remember facts and events. I also believe that remembrance must go beyond the ultimate abyss of extermination camps; we must remind ourselves of how it all became possible. We must remember how entrenched hatred and prejudice was spread through speech, and how it became official State policy, law and practice. We must remember how, at the bottom of the stairs leading down to utmost human indignity, there were ghettoes, camps, torture, abject experimenting with human beings, torture, death by exhaustion and hunger, mass executions and genocide.
In this International Day of commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, I also want to restate the Commission's firm condemnation of any attempt to deny, trivialize or minimise the Shoah, war crimes and crimes against humanity. These views constitute an unacceptable affront not only to the victims of that tragedy and their descendants, but also to the whole democratic world. The Commission welcomes educational activities aimed at informing the current generations about the horrors of the past
The Commission firmly condemns and rejects all manifestations of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia. The Commission is determined to make full use of the powers conferred by the Treaties to fight these repugnant phenomena. This is why I very much welcome, and fully support, the German Presidency's endeavours for the Council to finally adopt a Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia.
Freedom of expression is part of Europe's values and traditions, one of the fundamental, non-negotiable pillars of our democratic systems. Simultaneously, in our democratic societies, it is possible to fight racist speech through penal law in full respect of the European Convention of Human Rights. It is in this context that today, on the 2007 International Commemoration Day of the victims of the Holocaust, I salute the German Presidency's commitment to make sure that the future Framework Decision makes the intentional denial of the holocaust and of the other crimes against humanity, directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, a crime in all EU Member States.