Catalonia's Jewish community remembers Holocaust victims 

Speaker warns against "erroneous use" of the term 'genocide' today

Ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Barcelona
Ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Barcelona / Laura Fíguls
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

January 25, 2024 10:15 AM

Members of Catalonia's Jewish community remembered the victims of the Holocaust at a ceremony in Plaça de Sant Jaume in Barcelona on Wednesday evening. 

Other groups that suffered at the hands of the Nazis, such as Gypsies, the LGBTQ community and republicans from the Spanish Civil War were also honored at the event which was attended by representatives of the Catalan government and Barcelona City Council. 

A minute's silence was observed, candles were lit, and music was performed at the ceremony, which was held ahead of January 27, the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  

Nora Gaon, who spoke on behalf of Barcelona's Jewish community, warned that the lessons of the Holocaust were "weakening" in Europe today. 

She criticized the "erroneous use" of the term 'genocide', saying it was being used as a "political tool, without understanding the concept." 

"January 27 is a day of reflection, also on the use and abuse of key terms such as 'genocide'," Gaon said. 

"Today all over Europe we witness the absence or weakening of the conclusions of the Second World War in general and of the Holocaust in particular. The erroneous use of the term is part of this weakness" Gaon said, without making direct reference to the accusations against Israel of genocide in Gaza. 

The International Court of Justice is to deliver an interim ruling on Friday on whether it is plausible that Israel is enabling or committing genocide. 

Catalan justice minister, Gemma Ubasart, warned against the politics of hatred: "Fear of your neighbor leads to hatred, and hatred is the gateway to atrocities." 

The United Nations declared January 27 as International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust as it was that date in 1945 that the Soviet army liberated the concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau. 

The aim is to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirm an unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence.