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OPENING REMARKS

H.E. AMBASSADOR DAN GILLERMAN,

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL TO THE UNITED NAIONS

AT THE FIRST UNIVERSAL COMMEMORATION IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST

27 JANUARY 2006

GENERAL ASSEMBLY HALL

UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS

 

I, Danny Gillerman, born in Israel to parents who fled the Nazis, but whose grandparents and family perished, stand before you today, as an Israeli, a Jew, and a citizen of the world – moved and filled with pride as the world embarks on a journey beyond remembrance.

I stand here as a representative of the Jewish State that rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust. A Jewish State whose cabinet yesterday convened a Special Session at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem. A Jewish State that has become, against all odds, a beacon of beauty, excellence, creativity, and justice for the whole world.

And today, on this solemn occasion, I urge you to imagine. Indeed many of you in this hall don’t need to imagine because you were there, but I urge the rest of the world to imagine—imagine the shattering of skulls, the burning of flesh, the cries of anguish. Look at one child, and multiply it by a million and a half. Look at one member of your family and multiply him by six million. Imagine!

But imagine too what a world this would be if they, and their children, were still with us. How much more beauty, more excellence, more art and culture, more cures and innovations there would be. Imagine. Imagine how much better the world would be.

So today, as we look to the past, embrace the present, and look to the future, we must all pray. We must remember, salute, sound an alarm, and vow. We remember the sacrifice of the victims, we salute the courage of the survivors, many of them in this hall, whose numbers dwindle as the Holocaust turns from being memory to becoming history. And we sound an alarm, a call to arms, and a wake up call to the world.

A world in which a Member State of this organization calls for wiping Israel off the face of the map. A world in which an extreme and evil regime denies the Holocaust while preparing the next one.

A world that stood still 65 years ago and has since witnessed Cambodia and Rwanda.

A world that must act today to atone for yesterday and preserve our tomorrow.

On this day, I want to also express to you in this hall and around the world, my deep regret. I deeply, very deeply regret, and I believe the rest of the world should too, that the State of Israel did not exist in 1938 or 1943. Because if it did, this horrible event would never have happened.

And today, from this podium, in this hall, on this solemn day, I vow to you. I vow to you that as long as there is an Israel, no Jew will again be made to wear a yellow star or be tattooed with a number. And I vow to you that there will forever be an Israel, so these horrors will never be witnessed again—Never Again!

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we gather here today, night is descending on Jerusalem, and the Jewish Sabbath is enfolding Israel. So it is from here, from this world stage, that I say this Eve of Shabbat prayer:

 

“May God Give His People Strength. May God Bless His People With Peace.”

Shabbat Shalom.