October 9, 2023, 10:00am
Holocaust Memorial, Bucharest
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Each year, on October 9, we remember the day in 1941 when the deportation of Romanian Jews to Transnistria began, and we acknowledge the horrifying events that followed.
We also remember the day in 2004 when the Romanian parliament declared October 9th a National Day of Holocaust Remembrance.
We cannot undo the past. But through remembrance, education, and commemorations like this we try to ensure similar atrocities will not be repeated.
Romania’s efforts to acknowledge, learn, and grow from the collective trauma of the Holocaust are impressive. For decades, Romania’s Communist regime tried to distort, obscure, and erase the horrors of the Holocaust from national memory.
We appreciate the significant work done by the Parliament, the Wiesel Institute, the central government, and the Bucharest City Hall to build a Jewish History and Holocaust Museum in the center of Bucharest.
Similarly, this year’s introduction of a compulsory Holocaust course in high schools is emblematic of the country’s commitment to addressing the tragic events of the past.
This progress would not have been possible without leaders like Elie Wiesel, without the institute that carries his name, without the advocates of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, and without a strong commitment from the Romanian government at all levels.
The number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling, and time is running out to document their stories. We must carry on their legacy, learn from their testimonies, and stay vigilant in defending the dignity and human rights of all.
Today we stand together in solemn remembrance of the Jews and Roma — men and women, children and elderly, our fellow human beings — who were stripped of their rights, persecuted, and murdered during the Holocaust.
And today we stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these latest brutal attacks.
Thank you to the Government of Romania and the Elie Wiesel Institute for organizing today’s event.