As the world tackles a new wave of not anti-Semitism and hate, the Czech Republic may serve in setting an example, with the country not facing nearly as many problems as countries like France, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said following the 75th liberation anniversary commemorations at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Monday.
Babiš was attending the ceremony together with many other politicians representing more than 30 countries, including, for example, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová,
Polish President Andrzej Duda gave a speech, as well as the survivors, who spoke emotionally of Nazi horrors and appealed for respect for human rights and the fight against racism and intolerance.
Polish President Duda named the Auschwitz concentration camp as a factory of death.
“Jews from Poland, Hungary, France, Holland, Greece, and other occupied territories were brought here in cattle cars and the vast majority of them were immediately murdered in gas chambers and burned,” Duda recalled. He said that one could not pretend they do not see crimes that must not be forgotten.
During World War II, over 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, died in Auschwitz.
Before his departure to Poland, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that commemorative events are extremely important from the perspective of new waves of anti-Semitism in Europe.
According to Babiš, there are no extreme anti-Semitic manifestations in the Czech Republic.
“In this respect, we can set an example for other countries. We do not have such fundamental problems as does France, for instance,” said Babiš.
Babiš also said that, together with Culture Minister Lubomír Zaoralek (ČSSD), they agreed to restore plans to build the Memorial of Silence at the disused Bubny railway station in Prague.
The memorial is to commemorate the transports of Czech Jews to the Czech concentration camp Terezín during World War II. In Prague, Jewish transports were being dispatched from the Bubny railway station.