How to find us?
Prime Minister Šimonytė’s address to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust in Lithuania, 2021-06-23, Gargždai
It was with great sadness that I walked this ‘Memory Road’. For me, the tragedy of the Holocaust has never been a mere abstraction but a very painful realisation that hatred towards the other–someone different from ourselves – can become like a volcanic lava sweeping away and incinerating everything in its path.
The Holocaust is not only a tragedy of the Jewish people, it is a colossal disaster that has impoverished and robbed the humanity as a whole. It is important to remember that Holocaust statistics is not just figures - it is people who dreamed, loved and were loved, worked and created and had their mission in life. It is not just a grey pebble. The one I am holding has a name on it of Sarah Zusmanovich. They are numerous, these memorial pebbles, with the names of the people who used to live here.
History teaches us that hatred takes time to build, it is not a one-day process. Occasional flares of anger, which may at first seem insignificant or even laughable, gradually lead to distancing, until this element grows out of proportions, becomes an intimidating, cruel power, which eventually becomes unstoppable.
This is why it is crucial to pinpoint even the smallest sprouts of hatred or cruelty, and instead of turning a blind eye to it, to continue in the resolve to resist the erosion of humanity. Each of us has responsibility to make sure that what happened here 80 years ago would never reoccur. We remember and must do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.
My thanks go to everyone from the Tolerance Centres for your efforts in bringing more compassion and understanding and helping to banish hatred for good and all. My thanks also go to each and everyone who constantly remind us that the uniqueness and otherness is not a problem but the most valuable gift of all. And finally – my thanks go to the organisers of this and the upcoming events commemorating the victims of the Holocaust this year.
Let us walk the ‘Memory Road’ and invite others to join us. I trust that concerted intolerance to hatred will prevent such tragedies in the future.
For the translation of the address in Hebrew please press here /uploads/il/documents/Gargzdai%20-%20HE%20translation.pdf