Malmö, Sweden

13 October 2021

Secretary-General's video message to the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism

Watch the video:

It is a privilege to send my greetings to the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.

I thank the Government of Sweden for hosting this important gathering.

The Shoah was an act of unprecedented calculated cruelty and horror.  

Our most fundamental task is to remember: the loss of so many and so much – the systematic murder of some six million Jews and millions of others; entire communities wiped out.

We must honour the memory of those who perished, record their fate, and ensure they are never forgotten.

Fewer and fewer people can bear direct witness.

Our UN Holocaust Outreach Programme safeguards the testimonies of survivors, and by sharing them with the world, continues to remind us of their relevance today.

Still, survey after survey shows that younger generations do not have even a basic understanding of the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial, distortion and minimization are growing.

We must reflect, learn, teach and act.

We must remember that the Holocaust was not an aberration committed by a few terrible people, but the culmination of millennia of hatred;

remember that it was only possible with the collaboration and acquiescence of so many;

remember that a society which has no room for diversity has no room for humanity;

remember that the death of truth and rejection of reason are but harbingers of much worse to come.

And remember that antisemitism is a seismograph: the more it rattles our world, the greater the cracks to the foundation of the values of the United Nations, to mutual understanding and respect for human dignity.

That is why rising racism, antisemitism, virulent anti-Muslim bigotry, and anti-refugee hatred we see today are all so dangerous.

That is why I have made tackling the root causes of intolerance and hate an urgent priority for the United Nations – including through initiatives like the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, the Call to Action for Human Rights, and the UN Plan to Safeguard Religious Sites.

And that is why we pledge not simply to remember, but to speak out and to stand up.

To speak out wherever we witness hate and to stand up for human rights and the dignity of all.

Thank you.