On Wednesday, January 27, 2021, for the sixteenth time, a festive commemoration was held on the premises of the Wallenstein Palace in Prague on the occasion of the Day of the Holocaust Remembrance and the Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity.
The meeting was organized by the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic and the Endowment Fund for Holocaust Victims in cooperation with the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, under the auspices of Senate President Mr. Miloš Vystrčil.
In his introductory speech, President Vystrčil recalled that the Czech Republic established January 27 a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust in 2004, a year before the United Nations General Assembly, but still long 59 years after the end of World War II.
“…. I consider it outrageous if people who demonstrate against vaccination are marking themselves with the yellow star of David. It is an expression of endless disrespect for what those marked with the yellow star have really experienced,” he said.
The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mr. Radek Vondráček, condemned the current manifestations of anti-Semitism and pointed out the parallel between the biblical Amalek and modern tyrants, including Nazi leaders. In conclusion, he praised the approach of the Jewish community: “The Jewish community is always among the first to respond when anyone is harmed, when hatred and prejudice is spread, when someone is persecuted for his or her nationality, faith or mindset. Thank You for that!”
The key speech was delivered by Ms. Michaela Vidláková, who survived the Holocaust as a child. In her emotional speech she described her own experiences from the tragic time of theTerezín concentration camp. She commented also the current situation in our country and in the world: “So what can we do? With all that skepticism, there is only one thing left: do not give up! It is necessary to fight against evil if possible in its beginnings – everyone in their place can help in the fight against evil with some small act. ”
A representative of the Roma community, Mr. Čeněk Růžička, highly appreciated the role of the state in the liquidation of the infamous pig farm in Lety u Písku, (a site of a former Roma concentration camp) but was critical of the way in which compensation for Roma victims is handled: „… war traumas have severly affected also us, the post-war children. The details of suffering and vanishing of our relatives were hiden by those who survived, often we could not learn about their fates,…. That is why I feel an obligation to be invited to negotiations about further compensations.”
In his closing speech, the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities, Mr. Petr Papoušek, reminded that just a year ago, there was an appeal at this assembly to pass a law that would prevent the commercial abuse of Nazi symbols. This indeed happened these days. He also mentioned one specific fate, which he used to point out the depth and breadth of the human tragedy of the Holocaust: ” Don’t be indifferent. Lets never forget the murdered and neither the ones who survived, including a former prisoner Nr. 170 265, Miloš Dobrý, my grandfather.”
David Dorůžka, Robert Fischmann and Martin Novák performed in this year’s musical part, who, among other things, performed a composition by a gifted young composer Gideon Klein, who was murdered during the Holocaust.
With regard to the crisis measures issued by the Government of the Czech Republic, this year’s festive commemoration was held without public participation, however, it was broadcasted live on Czech Public Television ČT24.