Chamber of Deputies observes Holocaust Remembrance Day

25. 1. 2019

  The Czech Chamber of Deputies observed the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is celebrated on January 27, and passed a resolution defining antisemitism at its session today.


"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews," said the definition, which is not legally binding.

"Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities," the definition said.

In May 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) drew up and passed the definition of antisemitism.

"Although the Czech Republic has not seen the worst signs of racially motivated extremism, there is an obvious rise in antisemitic manifestations in Europe," the Chamber of Deputies chairman, Radek Vondracek (ANO), who initiated the resolution, said.

"This definition has an importance not only in relation to our tradition and intensive relations with the State of Israel, but also to our good coexistence with our Jews and other ethnic and racial groups. It can serve as a guide to evaluate the signs of hatred," he added.

Vondracek only introduced his proposal, but under an agreement of the chairpersons of deputy groups, the debate was not held.

Similar resolutions have been passed by the Israeli Knesset and the parliaments of Britain, Austria, Romania, Germany, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia, Macedonia, Moldova and the Netherlands.

Antisemitism arises from the breeding ground which is incompatible with democracy, emancipation of people and tolerance in general, with the principle of personal freedom and also responsibility, Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) said at a meeting on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day today.

Antisemitism is on the rise on the whole of Europe, although regular Holocaust remembrance acts, often in the presence of leaders of European countries, have been held since the end of World War Two, Kubera said.

When combating it, the elites are sometimes sluggish, he added.

"Antisemitism is a rejection of responsibility, the efforts to pass on responsibility to other people and to punish them," Kubera said.

There is not only the problem of hatred of Jews, but also of the Roma. "They, too, are still exposed to social harassment," he added.

The topic was also evoked by a psychologist and representative of the Roma minority, Monika Mihalickova.

"Evil and lie have the name antisemitism," Vondracek said.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) sent a written greeting to the event.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated on January 27, since the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.

During World War Two, about 50,000 Czechoslovak citizens were deported to Auschwitz, where the ordeal was only survived by about 6,000 of them.

Out of about 350,000 Czechoslovak Jews, roughly 250,000 died within the Holocaust.

CTK, Prague

Chamber of Deputies observes Holocaust Remembrance Day (25.01.2019)

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