ATHENS – “Greece has taken the lead at every opportunity in battles against ideologies of hatred,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday at the virtual Handover Ceremony of the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) 2021.
The full speech follows:
“Almost a year ago, Greece took on the responsibility of the annual Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). An alliance which strives to not only preserve the memory of the Holocaust, but to also guide humanity towards a future free from the darkness of totalitarianism and intolerance.
As heirs of humanitarian values and democratic principles, we have taken on this responsibility, because we feel obliged to emphasize their importance.
Furthering IHRA’s values and goals has been such an opportunity and we did not dismiss it. It was our duty, as well as an honor and privilege.
Greece has taken the lead at every opportunity in battles against ideologies of hatred.
Greek society has demonstrated resilience against the most extreme version of hatred against otherness, namely the Holocaust.
This has been demonstrated since 1944, when the courageous Mayor Karrer and Bishop Chrysostomos in Zakynthos managed to save all the Jews of the island from the Nazis.
More recently, we have stood firm against efforts to introduce neo-nazi ideas in Greece. We have taken all necessary actions to ensure that the rule of law prevails; that the forces of darkness do not re-appear under the Greek sky.
Inspired by its tradition of inclusive education, the Greek Presidency of the IHRA set Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust as its central theme and goal. We devoted our utmost efforts at broadening and deepening this field by taking a series of actions; including focusing on the public recognition and remembrance of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and on combating hateful ideologies.
The Greek Diaspora acted as a multiplier enhancing the effectiveness of our initiatives.
We are particularly proud of the fact that the Republic of North Macedonia took the critical step joining the IHRA community during the Greek Presidency. Cyprus and Brazil have also joined as observers.
Our fundamental ambition has been to keep the torch lit in adverse times, as the global community faces extreme challenges, including new forms of racism and antisemitism.
Today, we are handing over the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to Sweden, with a sentiment of fulfillment; having honored the Alliance’s commitment to respect and preserve the facts and memories of the Holocaust atrocities; having struggled by all means to expose and explain new threats, like the systematic attempts to deny and distort the Holocaust; and, above all, having preserved the zeal and determination of this Alliance to never allow the unthinkable crime to happen again.”