March 7, 2014

March 6th, European Day of the Righteous

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation announces its support to the establishment of March 6th as the European Day of the Righteous.

“We are proud to back this initiative as it is a highly symbolic gesture to promote peace and understanding among people of good will”, said in a joint statement Eduardo Eurnekian and Baruch Tenembaum, Chairman and Founder of the Wallenberg Foundation.

The European day of the Righteous is a celebration established in 2012 by the European Parliament to commemorate those who stood up against crimes against humanity and totalitarianism with their own moral responsibility. The European day of the Righteous is celebrated every year on 6 March, the anniversary of Moshe Bejski’s death. Bejski was a Holocaust survivor saved by Oskar Schindler, as well as a judge and President the Righteous Commission of Israel’s Memorial to the Jewish Victims of the Holocaust.

“The Wallenberg Foundation has addressed a formal appeal to the heads of State of the American continent prompting all the members of the Organization of American States to declare the same day as the The Day of the Righteous Rescuers for the Americas”, Messrs. Eurnekian and Tenembaum added.

The call for the European Union and the Council of Europe to set up a European day in the memory of the Righteous came from a hundred prominent Italian and European personalities of the world of culture under the aegis of non-profit association Gariwo, the forest of the Righteous.

The European day of the Righteous was approved by the European Parliament on 10 May 2012 with 388 signatures.

Written Declaration nº 3/2012 was presented on 16 January 2012 by Hons. Gabriele Albertini, Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, Niccolò Rinaldi and David-Maria Sassoli defines the aims of the European day of the Righteous in the following way:

The European Parliament, having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. recalling the great moral significance of the Garden of the Righteous in Jerusalem, initiated by the late Moshe Bejski, paying tribute to those who helped the Jews during the Holocaust;

B. recalling the institutions that have honoured people who saved lives during all genocides and mass murders (such as the Armenian, Bosnian, Cambodian and Rwandan ones) and the other crimes against humanity perpetrated in the 20th and 21st centuries;

C. recalling all those who preserved human dignity during Nazism and Communist totalitarianism;

D. whereas the remembrance of good is essential to the process of European integration because it teaches younger generations that everyone can always choose to help other human beings and defend human dignity, and that public institutions have a duty to highlight the example set by people who managed to protect those persecuted out of hate;

1. Supports the call made by leading citizens to establish a European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous to commemorate, on 6 March, those who challenged crimes against humanity and totalitarianism with individual responsibility;

2. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories , to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.