Ambassadors representing various IHRA member and observer states, Holocaust survivors and the Jewish community in La Paz took part in the wreath laying ceremony.
January 27th marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year’s Remembrance Day was especially significant, as it marked the 70th anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. 2015 also marks the anniversary of the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen.
The UK is the current Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and in that capacity, HM Ambassador to Bolivia, Ross Denny, hosted an event together with the leader of the Jewish community in La Paz, Dr Ricardo Udler, at the Holocaust memorial in La Paz’s Jewish Cemetery on Sunday 8th February.
On behalf of the UK chair of the IHRA, Ambassador Denny laid a wreath at the memorial in remembrance of the many millions of Jews and other victims murdered by the Nazi regime in the years prior to and during the Second World War, and a local Rabbi conducted a short, moving religious ceremony.
In his speech, Ambassador Denny recalled that seventy years ago as Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camps the world was horrified to discover the true scale and industrial evil of mankind’s darkest hour. While the past cannot be undone, it was vital to ensure that the events and lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten. This is our duty to the survivors.
The German Chargé d’Affairs, Manuel Muller also gave a short speech, followed by the Russian Ambassador to Bolivia, Alexey Sazonov. Ambassadors Angel Vasquez from Spain, Placido Vigo from Italy and Ariel Basteiro from Argentina were also present. Diplomats from the United States, France and Uruguay also took part, as well as the honorary consuls for Israel, Portugal and Norway.
In his speech, Dr. Udler expressed his gratitude for the ceremony reflecting on behalf of the Jewish community that this was the first event of its kind that had ever been held in Bolivia, and that “it is a privilege to have diplomatic representatives here with us, and to know that we have their support.