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Address by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

For many centuries, the Belarusian land has been a motherland and a comfortable home for the people of different nationalities. We are proud that all ethnic groups in Belarus have lived here without conflicts and with respect for habits and traditions of each other. Unity and mutual support were most vividly demonstrated in the face of Fascism which 80 years ago unleashed an unprecedented war that claimed millions of lives and made a profound impact on the history of humankind.

The Nazi’s policy of genocide on occupied territories, whose part was the Holocaust, left bloody wounds on our soil in the form of hundreds of burnt Belarusian villages and dozens of destroyed Jewish ghettos.

United by the common tragic destiny, the Belarusians and the Jews resisted Fascist aggression together.

Many residents of Belarus demonstrated true bravery and selflessness, and with enormous risk for their lives were hiding Jews saving them from imminent death. Over 700 citizens of Belarus were recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations”.

Liberation of Belarus from the Nazi invaders is a special holiday for our nation which has suffered through the long years of occupation and lost a third of its people during that war.

This year we mark the 75th anniversary of revival of peaceful life on our soil. No doubt, the year will see a number of events dedicated to that marquee date. It is symbolic that the International Holocaust Remembrance Day becomes the first event when we honor the memory of victims of Fascism during this anniversary year.

Belarus makes tremendous efforts so that the lessons of World War II would not be forgotten, either by our nationals or abroad.

In June 2018 the President of the Republic of Belarus together with foreign guests honored the memory of victims of a former Nazi death camp “Trostenets” and inaugurated one of the most sorrowful objects of that memorial complex – the memorial grave in Blagovshchina.

In October last year together with the international community we remembered the tragedy of the Minsk ghetto, one of the largest in the territory of Eastern Europe.

In our country we understand very well the responsibility to preserve the memory of that horrible war and its blameless victims. Our children and all future generations need it to develop a powerful immunity against any military aggression or ethnic hatred.

On the International Holocaust Remembrance Day we are united to remember all those who died in that terrible war and to prevent such tragedies in the future.