Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec at the Ceremony Dedicated to the Course “The History of Jews. The Holocaust”

As prepared for delivery

October 3, 2023, 10:00
Transylvania Hall,
Victoria Palace

Good morning,

Mr. Prime Minister,

Minister Deca,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to join this morning’s launch of the new required high-school course dedicated to the history of the Jewish people and the Holocaust.

This is an important step forward, one which will help ensure that the Holocaust and its victims are never forgotten.

I would like to congratulate the Romanian Government and the historians and experts whose expertise and efforts over the last several years made this curriculum possible. Thank you for contributions and dedication to this vital cause.

The U.S. Embassy is pleased to have been able to support this effort by offering a State Department-sponsored International Visitors Leadership Program last summer for several members of the curriculum drafting committee. This trip offered the chance for committee members to consult with U.S. experts.

As the decades pass, and the number of Holocaust witnesses and survivors decreases, it is more important than ever to shine a light on this horrific period in our history.

Unfortunately, our societies continue to contend with the rise of Holocaust denial and hate speech by antisemitic and neo-Nazi groups in many countries.

We have seen how such extremist groups seek to normalize Holocaust distortion and to whitewash the reputations of historical figures guilty of Holocaust-era crimes against humanity.

These messages of hate, lies, and scapegoating carry in them terrifying echoes of one of the worst chapters in human history.

We must stay vigilant against these trends. Education is key to ensure that future generations never go down this dark path again. It is vital that young people learn about what happened and understand how to identify and combat this kind of hate.

The launch of this course is a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we as leaders can do more to combat messages of hate and to rebuke those who would denigrate minority groups and deploy Holocaust distortion and denial for political gain.

The U.S. Embassy will continue to support Holocaust education, including through supporting such activities as the Elie Wiesel Study Tour, which is helping to educate a new generation of educators and activists.

As Elie Wiesel said, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. For not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories.”

Thank you for what you are doing today, and every day, to honor these memories and help us build together a brighter, more cooperative and tolerant future.