Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin visits Yad Vashem

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Martin laid a wreath at the World Holocaust Centre in Jerusalem, in memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust.

A visit to the centre was Mr Martin’s first engagement on his three-day visit to Israel.

He said that the Holocaust had made him conscious of the fact that Ireland should open its doors to Ukrainian refugees.

Mr Martin was asked if his visit to the centre made him regret that Ireland did not take in many Jews during World War II.

“In the current context, this is why I was so anxious that we would open the doors to Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing the worst war in Europe since World War II,” he replied.

“I think we should remind ourselves of that.”

In the Hall of Remembrance, the Tánaiste also laid a stone in line with Jewish tradition and rekindled the Eternal Flame.

On a tour of the centre, which contains the names of 4.8 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, Mr Martin was given a tour by Dr Jonathan Matthews, who leads the photo archives at Yad Vashem.

Dr Matthews conducted extensive research in Ireland for his doctoral dissertation on Irish revolutionary literature.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Martin said it was “extremely important” that what happened during the Holocaust is not forgotten, calling it “the darkest period in human history”.

“As time passes, we continue to remember, because it is the most effective way of showing our determination to honour the six million men, women and children who perished.”

Mr Martin said it was fitting that he should begin his visit here, given a worrying rise in anti-Semitism across the world.


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