he European Commission Representation in Spain today hosted an event on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
The event was attended by key actors in the construction of Memory, such as Holocaust survivors, institutional representatives, members of the Jewish community in Spain, representatives of civil society, teachers and students.
The event was inaugurated by the Director of the Representation of the European Commission in Spain, María Ángeles Benítez. Subsequently, an opening panel comprising the Ambassador of Israel to Spain and Andorra, Rodica Radian-Gordon, the Deputy Ambassador of Sweden to Spain, Maria Weimer, the Director General of Democratic Memory of the Ministry of the Presidency, Diego Blázquez Martín, the Director General of the Centro Sefarad-Israel, Jaime Moreno Bau, and the Director General of Cooperation with the State and the EU of the Community of Madrid, José Herrera Antonaya, introduced the topics to be discussed at the event.
Initially, there was a debate on whether there can be a common European culture of the historical memory of the Shoah and how European countries, specifically Spain, can contribute to it. In this debate, moderated by Jesús González (Aquí Europa), a Holocaust survivor, Eva Leitman Bohrer, took part, telling the story of her family, and how she was saved and brought to Madrid thanks to the providence of the diplomat Ángel Sanz Briz, nicknamed the ‘Angel of Budapest’. Also taking part were the head of the Support Unit at the General Directorate for Democratic Memory of the Ministry of the Presidency, Almudena Cruz Yábar, the Director General of the Sefarad-Israel Centre, Jaime Moreno Bau, and the Secretary General of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, Maxo Benalal.
After a break, teachers and students from IES Cañada Real and the Centro de Estudios Ibn Gabirol – Estrella Toledano discussed the importance of the intergenerational legacy in the memory of the Shoah; the debate, in which Raúl Fernández Vítores, professor of philosophy, also participated, was moderated by Rosa Mendez, head of Education, Holocaust and Antisemitism at the Centro Sefarad-Israel.
The event concluded with a speech by the Director of the European Parliament’s Information Office in Spain, María Andrés, and a closing speech by María Ángeles Benítez.
This event took place in the framework of the first European Union strategy to combat anti-Semitism and promote the Jewish way of life (2021-2030). This strategy has set out important measures focused on combating anti-Semitism in member states such as preventing and combating all forms of anti-Semitism, protecting and promoting the Jewish way of life in the EU, and Holocaust education, research and remembrance. These measures are complementary to the EU’s international efforts to combat anti-Semitism worldwide.