Remarks by Israel’s Ambassador to Rwanda at Holocaust Remembrance Day


Remarks by Ambassador Belaynesh Zevadia at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Ambassadors, government and non-government as well as United Nations officials, Excellences, colleagues, friends,

It’s an honour to have you all here today as we remember the millions of lives lost due to an act of hard-hearted cruelty and murder “The Holocaust”.

This place we are gathered in today, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, also reminds us of the brutal murder of about 800,000 people in Rwanda, a massacre that was stretched for months.

For the first time in the history of mankind, in the period of 1941-1945, industrial plants were used to kill people. A total of six extermination camps were established for the genocide of Jews, where the Nazis carried out mass murder of 6 million victims of the Holocaust. The use of gas chambers was the most common method of mass murder.

Alexander Werth, a journalist during the time wrote:

“Jews, men, women and children, naked, were driven into these dark concrete boxes – about five yards square. 200 or 250 people were packed into each box – and it was completely dark except for a small light in the ceiling and the spyhole in the door. Then the process of gassing began. First some hot air was pumped in from the ceiling and then the pretty pale-blue crystals of Cyclon were showered down on the people, and in the hot wet air they rapidly evaporated. In anything from two to ten minutes everybody was dead.”

Nevertheless Jews who survived the death camps did not come out of the ashes aspiring to take revenge or to waste the lives of their future generations on the past. Those impoverished refuges immediately set to build themselves a homeland – Israel, which I am proud to represent.

Seven decades later, we take time to remember the Holocaust so that we don’t forget the lessons that history has taught us, as we see the terrifying consequences. The human cost of the loss of six million lives is incalculable. The Holocaust is more than an alert call from the past.

In the present day, Germany is one of the most reliable allies of the State of Israel. The two states have been enjoying robust bilateral exchanges since the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 1956. Furthermore the countries have set priorities for the employment of trilateral ties with Africa in the fields of water management, agriculture and health. Israel and Germany together with our African allies are jointly pursuing development projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi to make people’s lives more manageable.

Today we remember the day with the theme “The Holocaust and Human Dignity” that links the founding principle of the United Nations that reaffirms faith in the dignity and worth of every person. As we recall the spiteful deeds of the Nazis, and reminisce on the Rwandan Genocide we also celebrate the power of forgiveness and positive thinking. We must unite in dismay at the way in which so many were stripped of their humanity and we must work together to educate people and show them the barrenness for their prejudices, to create a world in which there is no need for the maliciousness.

Thank you.