it is a long-standing custom in the Žilina community to host a tryzna (commemoration ceremony) in late June to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. It is our biggest event and it brings together guests from all over the world. Corona crisis is the reason why we cannot meet today and that is why I am addressing you in this way. We would like you to stop for a moment and imagine to be in our cemetery. To be together again at least for a while, to remember what happened to our grandparents, parents or relatives, to the known as well as unknown ones during the war.
We do not forget, we do not want and cannot forget.
Pavel Frankl, Head of ŽNO Žilina
Israeli ambassador Mr. Boaz Modai sent us his speech:
We also enclose a speech by President of the Žilina self-governing region, Mrs. Erika Jurinová together with a speech by Mayor of the town of Žilina, Mr. Peter Fiabáne.
Ladies and gentlemen,
28th June 2020 is the day when we light memorial candles for victims of the Holocaust, Nazism and World War II. In our minds we are together with those who were direct participants in that terrible time. We live in the present but we must not forget the past for the sake of the future.
This year we commemorated 75th anniversary of the end of the most tragic event in our history, World War II. The period that included persecution, discrimination, racial superiority, anti-Jewish laws, deportations, torture, sadistic experiments and mass murders in concentration camps.
Among millions of innocent victims in Nazi death factories were tens of thousands of people from our country. There are memorial plaques also in Žilina with engraved names of Jewish fathers, mothers, children and entire families who fell victim to fascism. They died because humanity disappeared from society and manifestations of hatred and anti-Semitism were stronger. It is not enough only to remember, it is necessary to talk about stories full of suffering and the journey without return. We cannot hide from historical facts nor remain silent about them or allow them to fall into oblivion over time. We must speak clearly and present testimonies about the Holocaust so that nothing like that will ever happen again. So that those who spread racial and religious hatred and approve of inhuman actions never come to power again. We show respect for victims by not forgetting and not allowing our children to forget.
Ladies and gentlemen, members and friends of the Jewish religious community in Žilina, dear Mr. Pavel Frankl,
a commemorative tryzna for victims of the Holocaust and the Second World War is regularly held in Žilina with the participation of those who had the strength and luck to survive and with relatives of victims. As the situation and precaution in regard to coronavirus did not allow us to meet together in Žilina this year the more I am with you in my thoughts. Today we will commemorate, pay respect and show humility in privacy by symbolically lighting a candle for people to whom others, in a particularly cruel and inhuman way have taken away their freedom, their right to life and life itself.
We will never forget!
Erika Jurinová, President of ŽSK
Ladies and gentlemen,
Jewish community has significantly influenced character of our town and the spirit of Jewish culture is still present in Žilina. In June, a commemoration tryzna for 6 million Jewish victims tortured during World War II takes place every year at the Jewish cemetery in Žilina. The year 2020 is marked by the COVID 19 pandemic and therefore the traditional tryzna has been cancelled. Let me address you at least in this way.
Tragic events of the Holocaust will forever remain part of our history. We cannot change the past and the only thing we can change is the future. If a nation does not know its history it cannot learn from it and reconcile with it. Even today in Slovakia the number of people who sympathize with racist and anti-Jewish sentiments is growing and they are becoming supporters. Various disinformation sources give young people information about the Holocaust in a very distorted way, some even denying it. It is in these days, when Jewish cemeteries and monuments are being destroyed again that we need to commemorate all the suffering of the 20th century that caused extinction of Jewish families. All the misfortune of the community that was initially affected by constraints in business, practice and education and finally in existence itself.
The Holocaust brought too much suffering into lives of Jewish families here in Žilina and it cannot be ignored. Our ancestors who just watched these horrors became complicit in their inaction. It is obligatory to clearly define this period and ask survivors and their families for forgiveness. To say honestly we are sorry and promise that it must not and will not happen again.
Let us do everything we can to influence people in form of educating young people, motivating them to read books, consistently educating them towards religious and racial tolerance so that similar manifestations of hatred never prevail in our society again.
Each of us can silently pay tribute to all those who perished during the Holocaust.
Peter Fiabáne, Mayor of the town of Žilina