April 27, 2006

In Honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 63rd anniversary the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, or in Hebrew, Yom HaShoah--Day of the Destruction. The "destruction'' is an apt description of the horrific crime that resulted in the deaths of six million Jews and destroyed families and communities across Europe.

In remembering the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust, we must recommit ourselves to ensuring that this tragedy never happens again and to fighting the precursors that led to this mass genocide--the bigotry of anti-Semitism, the discriminatory Nurenberg Laws, and the blind eye that the world turned for far too long. We honor the memory of those that suffered, and we pray for a world free from such hatred and despair.

The Jewish people have a long history of persecution and redemption. This month, the Jewish people celebrated Passover--a commemoration of the Exodus when the Jews received their freedom and were redeemed after 400 years of enslavement. This cycle of persecution and redemption has continued over the thousands of years since then, and in the years following the Holocaust, the Jewish people were redeemed through the founding of the State of Israel.

The nation was founded on principles of democracy and freedom, and has maintained these ideals in the face of the ongoing terrorism that continues to plague its people. However, despite these attacks on its people, this Jewish State continues to serve as haven for persecuted Jews and since World War II, has taken in entire communities from the former Soviet Union, South Africa, Ethiopia, Argentina, and throughout the world.

Immediately following the liberation of the concentration camps, we pledged to ourselves, never again. Never again will the world stand idly by while individuals are being slaughtered solely for their race, religion or ethnicity. But in the years since then, we have seen atrocities committed in Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo and a genocide is still ongoing in Darfur. Today, I rise on this solemn day to remember these brutal acts of genocide and recommit myself to this pledge, never again.