Press Statement of the Government of Portugal for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 27.01.2022

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today we commemorate 77 years from the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, a symbol of Nazi horror and inhumanity.

Portugal joins all those who are determined not to forget the atrocities that were then perpetrated. As we celebrate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we reiterate that intolerance, discrimination, xenophobia, racism, antisemitism and anti-gypsyism are contrary to the respect for human dignity and for alt other fundamental values inscribed in our Constitution.

Commemorating this date means to perpetuating memory so that the practices of Nazi barbarism — an ideology and a regime which dehumanized and excluded part of Humanity, which legitimized and institutionalized cruelty, torture and death — never happen again.

We evoke, without exception, alt of Nazism’s victims: Jews, gypsies, LGBTI persons, political opponents, intellectuals, persons with incurable diseases or with disabilities.

We also remember acts of resistance, heroism and solidarity, including those of Portuguese who, through their courage and altruism, saved thousands of victims of Nazi persecution from deportation and death. We remember Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Carlos Sampaio Garrido, Alberto Lis-Teixeira Branquinho, Jose Brito Mendes e Joaquim Carreira, whose memory is now celebrated through a recently inaugurated space at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2019, Portugal became an effective member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), reinforcing our commitment towards promoting the education of younger generations about this dark period.

A year later, in 2020, Portugal launched Nunca Esquecer’ (Never Forget’). This program stimulated a wide range of activities: it organized exhibitions, seminars and conferences; it fostered educational materials and resources; it advanced training and capacity-building actions; it created a Municipal Prize; it digitalized archives and testimonies; and it supported the production of knowledge through, for example, the publication by Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda of three books about Portuguese victims and saviors.

We live at a time when signs of antisemitism as well as of Holocaust distortion and denial are on the rise. It is therefore imperative to reiterate our commitment to keeping memory alive, because to remember and to never forget helps us guaranteeing — today and always — human rights of all and for all.