Dr. William Soto Santiago | Commemoration Holocaust Day in Costa Rica
His Excellency, Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Alfio Piva Mesen; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Enrique Castillo; Holocaust survivor, Solomon Fachler; Resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Ms. Yoriko Yasukawa; diplomatic corps accredited in Costa Rica, members of the Jewish community.
On November 1, 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved to assign January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations chose that date because it was on January 27, 1945 when the Soviet army cornered the German military forces and freed the prisoners who, in subhuman conditions, were being held in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Today and always, we will remember the victims of the Nazi genocide, because we are aware that one day is not enough to remember the survivors of the different genocides. It is necessary to promote, establish and execute activities in different political, social, cultural, academic and governmental scenarios, so that in compliance with the exhortation of the United Nations, we reflect day by day on the causes of crimes against humanity, persecutions, and the lessons of this international crime.
For many years, the idea that the Holocaust was a crime against the Jewish people has been wrongly thought out and disseminated. The Holocaust, in fact, was a crime against the human family.
This atrocious event left universal lessons that we must teach in schools and universities as an effective tool to prevent and avoid the future commission of genocidal acts of that nature, which overflows with evil, hatred and intolerance that can be expressed by the human being against their peers.
Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents, physically and mentally disabled, were considered "not pure" by the Nazi regime, and as such, enemies of the purity of the blood.
What moved Hitler was ethnic hatred against the Jewish people; that hatred was transformed into a racist ideology based on the idea of a presumed hierarchy of the "Aryan race" against the others, considered inferior or parasitic, whose elimination was necessary; and thus justified the extermination. An extremist ideology that the Nazis implanted from within the schools.
The Holocaust is a stain of indignity and opprobrium on the resume of the human family; because not only those who perpetrated the events were guilty of the death of millions of people, but also those who, by remaining silent and denying the victims refuge, became accomplices of barbarism.
Today the words of the then Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, when in 1961 he said: "We want the public to know that not only Nazi Germany was the culprit of the destruction of six million European Jews. We want every nation to know that they should all be ashamed."
In Resolution 60/7 of November 1, 2005, the United Nations "urges the member states to develop educational programs that inculcate future generations the teaching Holocaust in order to help prevent acts of genocide in the future". And in Resolution 61/255 of January 26, 2007 "attempts to deny the Holocaust are rejected, which, by ignoring the historical character of these terrible events, increases the risk of their recurrence."
In compliance with these UN Resolutions, the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, aims to promote the teaching of "The Holocaust, paradigm of genocide", in schools and universities, taking the history of the Holocaust as a necessary reference to prevent another genocide in humanity, to reflect on the importance of an education based on ethical and constitutional values and principles, which allows the student to take action in the defense of human rights when facing manifestations of violence, injustice or intolerance that threaten both their environment and that of other cultures, peoples or nations.
To this end, the Embassy holds forums in different universities in Latin America with the theme "Educating to Remember - The Holocaust, paradigm of genocide."
The Embassy also promotes the issuance of a law to include "The Holocaust, paradigm of genocide" as a subject of study in the educational system of the different Latin American countries.
The Global Embassy of Activists for Peace also runs the project "Traces to Remember", designed to keep alive the testimony of the Holocaust survivors and make known the universal lessons that this dark stage left, which divided the history of humanity in a before and after.
As part of this initiative, a plaque is made, such as the one that will be exhibited in the Foreign Ministry for one month, with the palm prints of a Holocaust survivor and their descendants.
In parallel, spaces for study and reflection are generated through educational forums in universities, institutes, professional associations and schools.
The Holocaust is a fact of the past that has living teachings for present and future generations; facts that, although they have happened in another continent, will allow the student to learn about the consequences of intolerance, hatred, discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, lack of respect for life and human dignity. It will help them identify the warning signs in the emergence of governments, extremist groups or people that may trigger a new international crime, be it a genocide, a crime against humanity, a war crime or a crime of aggression.
Genocide is not an accident of nature. It is a premeditated crime that can be anticipated and, as such, can be prevented.
As the Italian thinker and master of Criminal Law, Francesco Carrara, said: "He who foresees, prevents."
In fact, at present, the precursor conditions for the occurrence of another genocide are present. However, it is avoidable if we make the world population aware that we cannot be indifferent or passive in the face of the current circumstances of intolerance and discrimination. And seeing in Latin America and Europe the resurgence of extremist groups, especially neo-Nazis, we realize that we are facing the warning signals that call us to action.
All the legislators, authorities and educators of the world, have the freedom, but also the political responsibility and the ethical and moral commitment, to promote and enact laws in defense of Human Rights, which guarantee the right to life and proscribe all forms of discrimination.
Costa Rica is an example to the world, of the prioritization of Education over armament investment.
The teaching of the genesis, history and repercussions of the Holocaust as a paradigm of genocide will make new generations aware of the ravages of hatred, intolerance and discrimination; it will allow them to identify the alarm signals to counteract them; and thus prevent the repetition of another genocide.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is better to educate for prevention, than to judge for punishment.
Thank you very much.