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Remarks at the 68th annual Holocaust Memorial Service: Roey Gilad

Today I would like to speak about what I consider to be a great challenge to all of us.

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Today I would like to speak about what I consider to be a great challenge to all of us. This ceremony today is organized indeed by Sheerit Hapleitah - the Holocaust Survivors. However, In 20 years or so there will be no living witnesses to the Holocaust. The candles will be lighted by the children or the grand children of the survivors. There will be no one to tell the story. Nobody to say: "I have been there. I have seen the inferno in my own eyes"….

All this might have not been so dramatic had there not been out there so many challenges to the memory of the Holocaust. Day in and day out, different people from different places in the world are casting doubts, denying the Holocaust and trying to erase its memory!

Actually, the place where we are now, as many of you remember, was itself a target for such an activity. In 1977, under the very wide umbrella of the First Amendment, a group of Nazis threatened to march at the heart of Skokie, waving their swastikas all over and chanting offensive slogans. All this in a place that was a home for a huge Jewish community, many of them Holocaust survivors.

So can the second and third generation take the lead from now on? Is it possible at all to keep the memory alive while those who witnessed the inferno are not with us anymore?

The answer is yes! Yes, because we have no other choice! Yes, because it is our responsibility as people, as nation, to keep the memory alive. The memory of the most terrible thing that has ever happened to any group of people in the history of mankind.

The only way to keep the memory alive is through education. Through what is known in the Hagadah, which we just read: "And you shall tell your son."

This is our common responsibility - of the first generation to speak and the second and third generation to listen. Only through this dialogue we can make sure that the memory of the Holocaust will stay alive after the witness is gone.

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