Edvards Smiltēns at Holocaust memorial event: we must not allow evil to return

(04.07.2024.)
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“Our duty as part of the democratic Western civilisation is to regularly and constantly remind ourselves and others about those pages in history, from which we have the most to learn, to never again allow evil to return,” said Edvards Smiltēns, Secretary of the Saeima, on Thursday, 4 July, at the flower laying ceremony dedicated to the Commemoration Day of the Victims of the Genocide against Jews in Latvia.

Secretary Smiltēns emphasised that the memory of the victims of the Holocaust is and will continue to be upheld in Latvia. We also honour those who, even in the darkest times, maintained their humanity and selflessly saved innocent people from certain death. We have come here to commemorate and honour our own – people from Riga, people from across Latvia, people from all over Europe: innocent victims. Their only “crime” was being Jewish. A target set upon by a sick and sadistic ideology,” Edvards Smiltēns said.

On the backdrop of the current geopolitical situation, and with Russian imperialists killing thousands of innocent people in Ukraine in the name of their deplorable ideas, we see that the ghosts of evil have not disappeared, Secretary Smiltēns warned. “Although the international community has done a great deal to prevent the tragic events of the 20th century from repeating, unfortunately intolerance, xenophobia, antisemitism, inciting hatred, conflicts and violence in regions near and far is not merely a thing of the past. The truth is that it is right here, just across our borders,” Edvards Smiltēns said.

Secretary Smiltēns attested that Latvia has always strongly and consistently condemned the crimes against humanity perpetrated by occupation powers and their associates.

Edvards Smiltēns also emphasised that we cannot forget history and must learn from it: “These extremely painful pages of history teach us the most. Our main takeaway has to be that which stands above it all: that we are human. The main thing is to learn humaneness, to learn to tell right from wrong. As long as we hold the light within ourselves and as long as there are many of us, darkness will never win.”

The Holocaust memorial event was attended by members of parliament, as well as other state officials and representatives of the foreign diplomatic corps.

83 years ago, on 4 July 1941, five synagogues were set ablaze in Riga, thus marking the beginning of the Holocaust enacted by the Nazi occupation regime.

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Saeima Press Service

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