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Linkevičius: Remembering the Holocaust we must do everything we can to prevent this catastrophe from happening again

Created: 2020.09.24 / Updated: 2020.09.24 16:36
    Linkevičius: Remembering the Holocaust we must do everything we can to prevent this catastrophe from happening again

    On 24 September, the diplomatic conference “Beyond Duty – Visas for Life” to mark the Year of the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who served as vice-consul in interwar Lithuania, took place at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) in Kaunas. The conference was opened by the VMU Rector, Professor Juozas Augutis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius.

     

    “Today, we honour the efforts of the Japanese diplomat Sugihara and the Dutch diplomat Jan Zvartendijk to save Jews from the Holocaust. We must follow in their footsteps and, drawing on past lessons, understand that it is very important to uphold and protect our values. Remembering the Holocaust we must do everything we can to prevent this catastrophe from happening again. Values are not given. They must be constantly defended and, today, the people in Belarus are fighting for them every day,” said Linkevičius.
     
    During the event, four families of Lithuanians who rescued Jews during World War II were awarded the Yad Vashem’s title of Righteous Among the Nations.
     
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Stef Blok, who is currently visiting Lithuania, also greeted the guests. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Motegi Toshimitsu and Hajime Furuta, Governor of Japan’s Gifu Profecture in which Sugihara was born, also  released video statements.
     
    The Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania Yossef Levy conveyed greetings by reading a letter from Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi. The Chair of the Lithuanian Jewish Community Faina Kukliansky also delivered a speech. 
     
    In the second part of the event, a symposium was held to honour the memory of the diplomats – the Righteous Among the Nations. The event aimed at highlighting the mission of the diplomat, which is the duty to save lives in current regional conflicts.
     
    The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum’s exhibition “Whoever Saves a Life, Saves the World Entire” about the rescuers of Jews in Lithuania – the Righteous Among the Nations – also runs at Vytautas Magnus University. 
     
    The conference was organized by Vytautas Magnus University together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

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