Isaac Benzaquén: “Do not forget the Holocaust because history repeats itself”

In an interview with Agencia EFE, Isaac Benzaquén, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, said that the Holocaust, which seems far away, must not be forgotten because “unfortunately history repeats itself”.

Benzaquén explained that “the Holocaust was against human rights, against the traditional values that all of Europe fought against” and regretted that there are many people who think that it is an issue that only affects Jews: “I believe that this is often the big mistake”.

To combat the lack of knowledge of what happened during the Shoah, he considers that it should be part of the school permanent curriculum, “in the new education law it finally appears as mandatory in the third and fourth year of high school, it is an important step but it is a small step for all that must be done”.

He highlighted that “the Jewish community feels very safe in Spain, very integrated and we have full freedom to develop our beliefs and traditions.”

Benzaquén considers that the Sephardic legacy should be disseminated, but not limited to the religious aspect, but above all to the values they have, “especially the values that we bring to society as Spanish Jews” and stressed that “there are countries that have to create history, we have the history”.

Within this clear and defined philosophy of making themselves known, they created the Ibn Gabirol association, a socio-cultural institution that was born to make Jewish thought known through educational, cultural and social programs.

“If we go out to the street and ask who is the philosopher and theologian Ibn Gabirol, we would surely get a great disappointment and if we ask outside Malaga, the disappointment would be greater,” he lamented.

At the same time, he considers that universities have a great responsibility in the fight against antisemitism and pointed out that for the first time in Spain the ‘Simone Veil Extraordinary Chair for the prevention of racism, antisemitism and promotion of interculturality’ has been created.

The aim of the Chair is “to promote freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, through research, scientific dissemination and training”.


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