“My father, Martin Freiberg, was born in Magdeburg, Germany, on February 20, 1931. It was neither a good time nor place to be born a Jew,” writes Mark Regev, formerly an advisor to the prime minister, a senior visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, in his recent article in The Jerusalem Post.
“He was given the name Martin, after his late uncle, my great uncle, who died in 1915 on the western front in the Great War – a soldier killed in action fighting for the Kaiser and the German Fatherland. Some two decades later, the German state declared my family, and all Jews, to be evil bacteria, vermin that needed to be exterminated.”
“My father never volunteered to share his wartime childhood experiences with his children. He didn’t want to talk about discrimination, hunger, humiliation, abuse and fear. Psychologists call this repression, an unconscious defense mechanism to block unpleasant memories. My father simply locked them all away, shut tightly in some inner vault. Like so many survivors, he just wanted to move on.”
On International Holocaust, Remembrance Day people across the world gather to remember the Jews murdered by the Nazis and to condemn contemporary anti-Semitism.
“For the Right-wing racist, the Jew is the all-powerful globalist committed to destroying the national ethos and enslaving the common man. For the far-Left extremist, the Jew is a Rothschild capitalist who sucks the blood of the downtrodden masses. For the militant Islamist, the Jew is the murderer of innocents and the perverter of morality,” writes Mark Regev.
“The xenophobic ultra-nationalist, the authoritarian revolutionary socialist, and the Jihadi warrior may all abhor each other, but they can unite in the common assault on the ‘nefarious’ international Jewish conspiracy.”
The United Nations Nepal together with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of Israel and Delegation of the European Union observed the 77th International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Nepal for the eighth consecutive year. They jointly honored the memory of the six million Jews and millions of other minorities murdered during the Holocaust.
In Nepal, the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day focuses on generating awareness and empowering youth to stand up for human rights, challenge discrimination and foster tolerance, solidarity, and action for lasting impact. On 26 January, as a prelude to this year’s observance, the UN, the three embassies and Yuwalaya, an organization working for/with adolescents and youth, organized the Countering Hate Speech workshop for youth. Six dozen youth from seven provinces in Nepal participated in the workshop and explored ways of addressing hate speech online.
In 2022, this day has a focus on – Memory, Dignity and Justice, because the writing of history and a conscious act of remembering brings dignity and justice to the victims and sheds light on the stories the holocaust tried to erase. This year’s observance was graced by Ephraim Eisenman, a 77-year-old Holocaust survivor who shared his story of exceptional courage and resilience.
Speaking at the ceremony, Richard Howard, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i said, “We call upon everyone to have a discussion on how we learn from the past to build our societies today, to work together to build communities that thrive in their diversity and communities in which equality and justice are the guiding light. It is that, for which we must strive.”
Hanan Godder Goldberger, Ambassador of Israel to Nepal, recited the memorial prayer and said Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Such an event should never be forgotten and should never happen again. We must promote values like tolerance, acceptance of the other, nondiscrimination and democracy.
Dr Thomas Prinz, German Ambassador to Nepal, quoted one of the Holocaust survivors and said, “Saul Friedländer in the German Parliament once expressed his hopes that we “continue fighting for tolerance and inclusivity, for humanity and freedom, in short, for true democracy. I think this is exactly what we have to do.”
Likewise, Ms. Nona Deprez Head of the EU Delegation to Nepal expressed, "we will never accept or ignore Holocaust denial, and will combat firmly any kind of anti-Semitism, intolerance, harassment or violence against any person or community based on ethnic origin, religion or belief.”
During the ceremony, in honor of the victims of the Holocaust, musicians from the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory created a beautiful fusion of Nepali folk music using the Sarangi and classical pieces from the Hungarian dance and the Oscar-winning Schindler’s List.
Like people all over the world, Nepal has also been hosting programs to commemorate International Holocaust Day.
Long before starting the celebration of International Holocaust Day, Nepali people were taught in colleges BP Koirala’s book Hitler and Yahudi ( Hitler And Jews), a novel depicting the atrocities committed by Hitler against Jews. Nepal’s first elected prime minister and leader of Nepali Congress late Koirala depicted the cruel and inhuman atrocities of Hitler against innocent Jews and had shown his solidarity and sympathy with Jews. However, the current government led by his disciples Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and foreign minister Dr. Narayan Khadka have decided not to be a supporter of a joint proposal prepared by Germany and Israel condemning atrocities against humans in the UN.
Whatever they may say, the message of Nepal’s stand has shown that the current Nepali Congress leaders seem to have no faith in their own leader Koirala’s stand.
With good bilateral relations all the time between Nepal and Israel, Nepal has failed to stand this time during the International Holocaust Day not be a party of the joint resolution tabled by Germany and Israel denouncing Hitler’s atrocities against humans. Although the resolution was supported by 114 countries out of 195 member countries, unfortunately, Nepal remains by the side of minority countries.
Nepal’s stand in the UN is hurting the family of victims of the Holocaust like Mark Regev. However, this is harsh but the reality of Nepal’s current foreign policy.