LONDON – The Holocaust needs to be remembered as a real, historical and well-documented event, commented the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
In a statement to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that the day should be marked for future generations.
“We need … to ensure that, when in future we have no survivors physically amongst us, the evidence that has been so painstakingly collected by organizations such as the Yad Vashem Foundation continues to be available to all who wish to approach and study it with the respect that is due," the Anglican head stated.
Williams noted attempts to challenge the Holocaust as history, such as the recent conference in Iran, brought disgrace on those who sought to do so for political purposes.
“The clear implication was that if it had happened at all, it had been greatly exaggerated from motives to do with Zionism and a European guilt complex,” he said.
"It cannot be acceptable to treat the systematic murder of six million Jews and others as a propaganda issue for a particular cause.”
The archbishop paid tribute to survivors of the Holocaust and to those who sought to ensure that it was meticulously documented and researched. He singled out the work of Sir Ellie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust who had worked to ensure that the suffering would be remembered. He warned that challenges still lie ahead and that the Holocaust Memorial Day, which will be observed Saturday this year, was not simply about commemorating the past.
“It is a day to recommit in the most practical ways to continue the struggle against the underlying anti-Semitic causes of that event which remain present and virulent within our communities in this country as in others,“ Williams said.
Holocaust Memorial Day is a national event in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. It was first held in January 2001, and has been on Jan. 27 every year since.
In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly set aside Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp. As part of the resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide, every member nation of the U.N. is obligated to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and develop educational programs.
Christian Post Reporter Eric Young in Washington, D.C., contributed to this article.