The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman has underscored the need for adequate investment in education to address the dangers of hate speech and hatred, and to ward off any reoccurrence of Holocaust.
Freeman, who is also the Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, while speaking at a commemoration of International Holocaust Day in Abuja on Friday, said the attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023 was the same as the Holocaust, both a child of anti-Semitic hate.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 that established the Holocaust and UN Outreach Programme, also designated January 27, as annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust.
Freeman said: “79 years ago, millions of Jews were murdered. Holocaust began with words, hate speech, singing out and dehumanising of Jewish people; which many people looked the other way.
“After the world stood by as millions of people were murdered, we suddenly declared `Never Again’ Holocaust denial took 30-years before it became widespread phenomenon today.
“Education is critical if we have to reverse the trend: when it happened 6-million Jews were murdered, when we talk about the number, we talk about population of cities.
“Yet, it still remains an unimaginable number, the only way to understand the dangers of Holocaust are from expression by individuals.”
He noted that the hatred that gave birth to Holocaust over 75 years ago was still much around today, insisting that education is the only cure.
UN Resident Coordinator who was represented by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Mulombo, reading the message of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said there is need for a collective efforts to end all forms of Holocaust.
He said: “Today, we pause to mourn the six million Jewish children, women, and men systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.
“We recognised the horrific resonance this day of commemoration finds in our own times, the antisemitic hate that fuelled the Holocaust.
“We did not start with the Nazis, nor did it end with their defeat.’’
According to him, today, we are witnessing hate spreading at alarming speed online, it has moved from margins to the mainstream.
He added that we must remember that disdain for diversity is danger to everyone, as no society is immune to intolerance and bigotry against one group is bigotry against all.
The British High Commissioner, Dr Richard Montgomery, represented by Cynthia Rowe, Development Director, FCDO, of British High Commission in Nigeria said: “UK government is committed to creating education and research about the Holocaust.
“We are building new Holocaust-memorial in London expected to be completed in 2027; UK will take on the precedence on International Day in remembrance of the victims of Holocaust in March, 2024.
The “theme of our precedence is in plain sight drawing attention that Holocaust did not happen in dark corner”.
The mission envoy explained that such would highlight suicidal practice, which allowed mass murder to have taken place on large scale.
“It is our collective responsibility to remember the horrors of the Holocaust and renew our vows that `Never again,” the envoy said.