In an event commemorating the Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, affirmed that “our weapons” in the fight against barbarism and violence “are not rifles, or bombs, or gas chambers; but dialogue, words, negotiation and agreements”.
The Chief Executive assured that “our strength is not only rooted in the quality of our values and the content of what we uphold, but in the knowledge that we are immensely better” than those who use violence. “Because” Mas continued, “the vast majority of societies, ours included, are made up of people who are righteous and respectful to each other, people who can live together in harmony and discuss issues openly”.
Artur Mas stressed that remembering the Holocaust “is not only an act of justice, but an inversion of the future, allowing us to have a living memory”. “It is necessary that we never forget, but also that we can build a future based on forgiveness […] to know how to forgive is also an inversion of the future”, revealed the President.
In this respect, the President asked: “What can be done from Catalonia to help achieve a world with better values?” For Artur Mas, the answer “lies within the Catalan identity”. The Head of the Generalitat explained that the Catalan identity does not refer to those born in Catalonia or to those with longstanding Catalan roots, but to “those of us here, regardless of our territorial, linguistic cultural or religious diversity”. When “we are capable to join together and forge a community of values and attitudes then we can contribute to make a better world”. “Catalonia’s history, especially its recent history, has proven this”, added the President.
For this reason, the Chief Executive declared that “if this conviviality in Catalonia serves as an example, it is our responsibility not let it down and strive every day to make it possible”.
The commemorative event began with the lighting of the six Memorial Candles by Minister Oren Bar-El, from the Israeli Embassy in Madrid and in representation of the surviving Holocaust victims; Jai Anguita, president of the Bet Shalom Jewish community and representing the Jewish people exterminated by the Nazis; Dina Mouyal, in representation of Barcelona’s Israeli community for the children who lost their lives in the gas chambers; Llibert Villar, the son of a victim sent to Mauthausen in representation of the Catalan and Spanish victims killed in concentration camps; Miquel Fairman, a representative of the Atid de Catalunya Jewish community on behalf of “Righteous Among the Nations”, the men and women who risked their lives to save the persecuted, and Isàvena Opisso, representing the Talcomsom entity, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) association in Vic, for all other groups who were persecuted by National Socialism.
A minute of silence was held following the lighting of the memorial candles, after which representatives of various organizations spoke on behalf of their entities including, Jehovah’s Witnesses groups, LGBT associations, people with disabilities collectives, groups persecuted for political reasons as well as the peoples of Jewish and Gipsy communities.
The event was held in the Parliament of Catalonia and included the attendance of Núria de Gispert, President of the Chamber, and Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona.