The Engelberg family commemorative was inaugurated and unveiled at Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Embassy of Activists for Peace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the event.
The first commemorative plaque in Guatemala was dedicated to Regina Engelberg from southern Poland, who lost her entire family during the Nazi persecution. She is alive today because she was selected to work at an aircraft assembly plant in Berlin, where she remained for one year before being released.
Karla Samayoa, General Director of Bilateral International Relations, was present at the event and expressed that it was an honor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host this meaningful ceremony that aims to preserve the individual stories of the survivors of one of the most horrific atrocities to occur in the twentieth century: the Holocaust.
Dr. William Soto emphasized that we are all part of history, and therefore we must reclaim it so that the Holocaust and any other crime against humanity is not repeated. Among other things, he added that forgetting the Holocaust is a crime, and not making it known to new generations would make us accomplices to those who perpetrated it, as well as those who deny it.
"The Holocaust is the saddest defeat of free civilization. This crime perpetrated by the Nazi regimen is the dark page in the history of Germany; and therefore, of the human family,"
Dr. Soto also highlighted the importance of teaching present and future generations based on human dignity and human rights. In reference to this, he added: "It is fundamental to use education as a foundation to prevent a new genocide. The Holocaust is the paradigm par excellence of the act of genocide, and as such, the Holocaust must be a subject of study."
Among those attending the ceremony were Moshe Bachar, Ambassador of Israel to Guatemala; Tomas Schäfer, Ambassador of Germany to Guatemala; on behalf of Mayor Alvaro Arzu, Rafael Paiz, Director of Communications of the Municipality of Guatemala; Rabbi Losef Benchimol, representative of the Jewish Community in Guatemala.
Jaime and Alex Torum, the son and grandson of Regina Engelberg, expressed words of gratitude and spoke about having her in their lives.
The commemorative plaque containing the handprints of Regina Engelberg and her family was unveiled at the end of the ceremony. The plaque will be displayed at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for twenty days.
The Holocaust as a Course of Study
After the ceremony, Fernando Carrera, Foreign Minister of Guatemala, the Embassy of Activists for Peace, and other personalities met later that evening at the Intercontinental Hotel to discuss the proposal of a bill to include the Holocaust as a course of study in schools and as a case study in universities.