On Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January, this year, a digital ceremony was arranged, recorded at the Riksdag. The Riksdag network Remembrance of the Holocaust organised the event.
The Speaker Andreas Norlén, the Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Celina Cahn, survivor from the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Mikael Oscarsson from the Network participated in the event with stories and speeches. Singing was provided by the Pelle Olofssson Trio.
The ceremony can be watched on demand (in Swedish) via:
Youtube: Holocaust Remembrance Day
The Speaker's speech from the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony
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Ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy that members of the Riksdag from different parties, united in the Remembrance of the Holocaust Network, have been able to arrange this ceremony today. We usually meet every year on location at the Riksdag – both members and invited guests – to remember and honour the victims of the Holocaust together. During the pandemic, this is of course not possible, but despite this it is important that we can still meet – in this way.
On 27 January 1945, the prisoners in the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau were liberated.
After this day, the full horrors of the Holocaust were all open to behold, in every monstrous detail.
After this day, no one can ever say that they don’t know, or don’t understand, what the Holocaust meant.
The horrors of the Holocaust are still an open sore in the history of humanity today.
These indescribable atrocities were committed not only systematically and structurally, but also interpersonally, between individual people. They show how far it had been possible for people to go – along the darkest of roads.
This day is therefore an opportunity to remember what happened, to remember in order to become stronger in our conviction that this must never happen again.
The voices and testimonies that are still reaching us today from this terrible time, they are telling us:
Don’t let human values be cast away in this way, ever again.
Don’t let respect for the life, beliefs and way of life of each and everyone be oppressed in this way again, ever.
We are many today who honour the most fundamental and essential of values, values that we hold so highly: Human rights, human dignity and democracy. At the same time, we know that hate, threats and violence also exist in our times. In our times, there are also ideas that are connected to the darker sides of humanity.
Therefore, I am happy that so many of us have come together today to honour and commemorate the memory of all the millions of people who became the victims of this terrible time of evil. I am happy to be one of all of us who today are contributing to another – brighter – future.
As Tomas Tranströmer wrote:
Don’t be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you arch after arch opens without end.
You will never finish, that’s how it’s meant to be.
He wrote this in a completely different situation, but I am so struck by how much there is to be found inside us human beings. Inside all of us there is love, happiness, sorrow and humanism. Inside us there is room for the potential for each and every one of us to develop and do good. This is something we must always bear in mind.
We can always strive to be a little better, or to learn a little more.
We can always make a little extra effort to stretch out a hand to our fellow human beings. In fact, this apparently simple act serves to unite our entire society.
This is how we can build a future in which neighbours do not turn against each other, where one friend does not turn against another, where one person does not stand against another.
This is how we create a future where human kindness is not just a thin veneer concealing our darkest instincts, but is more of a strong cement that helps us stick together.
In this way we can keep our promise – to do our utmost to prevent this from ever happening again.