Let My People Live

Let My People Live

The 4th International Let My people Live! Forum

On 26-27th January, the date of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the European Jewish Congress will be holding a series of events in Prague and Terezin with the Czech Government and the European Parliament. The 4th International Let My people Live! Forum is organized not just to remember the past, but also to meet the challenges of the present and future, particularly the rise in hate, racism, Anti-Semitism and xenophobia in current Europe.

These events will be a platform for discussing the issues and finding practical solutions and recommendations for dealing with the threats. There is a great importance in holding a forum that will serve a practical purpose, designed to raise awareness among opinion shapers and decision makers on the three levels of leadership, political and legal spheres, so they will have the tools to act and motivate others to act.

Program

One-Day Conference, 26 January 2015

On 26th January, a one-day conference will be held in Prague, where three panels, comprised of representatives from government, media and world civil society, will discuss how to oppose the rise of Anti-Semitism, racism and extremism from a political, legal and public perspective.

The first panel will focus on the use of the various forms of traditional as well as social media by those who wish to promote extremist ideologies and political platforms. The panelists will discuss the dangers of incitement and hate speech as well as the limits of freedom of expression. The speakers will also attempt to address whether there is a responsibility among media and journalism professionals to ensure that their platforms do not promote intolerance, hate or demonization of minorities.

The second panel will focus on the utility of legislative measures to combat racism and hate. The panelists will address the balance of rights, responsibilities and freedoms, and how democratic societies can better protect and promote their core values of democracy, tolerance and security for all by the use of legal structures to proscribe racist or hate movements, demonstrations and publications.

The third panel will focus on how society can fight an increasing entry into the normative and mainstream body politic of extremist ideologies and the responsibility of the political class to fight this threat. Extremist groups have and are using the media, the law and the body politic to further their aims, so there is a direct responsibility by the guardians of democracy to defend these ideals against those who seek to utilize and manipulate them.

Holocaust Commemoration Event, 27 January 2015

On 27th January, Czech President Milos Zeman will host a special session for leading political figures, at Prague Castle, to discuss a roadmap towards fighting growing extremism, racism and intolerance in Europe and around the world. This will follow by the participants traveling to the city of Terezin, a former Czech concentration camp for the official commemoration ceremony.

Why Prague and Terezin

Prague and Terezin both have a strong connection to the Jewish history and the horrors of the Holocaust.

Prague was inhabited by a Jews since the 10th century and it holds an important place in Jewish history, culture and art. The Jewish community built its own city quarter, the ghetto. In the 19th century it was officially connected to Prague and renamed Josefov as a form of commemorating the emperor Joseph II for his Toleration Law granting equal rights to Jewish citizens. Prague hosts the first synagogue built in Central Europe – the Old-New synagogue from the 13th century. Some of the Jewish personalities based in Prague were influential outside Czech boundaries – for example writer Franz Kafka gained international reputation.

Terezin personifies the suffering of Czech Jews during the Holocaust. Originally a military fort from the 18th century, was used by the Nazi regime as a collecting camp and a “retirement ghetto” for Austrian and German Jews over 65 years of age. Life in the ghetto was very harsh, with tens of thousands of Jews perishing due to epidemics, malnutrition and too much workload. Terezin also served as a junction camp, from which thousands of Czechoslovak, Austrian and German Jews were sent further on to death camps in Poland.

Background

Antisemitic Incidents in Europe, in 2014

Athens – Holocaust memorial desecrated by graffiti (Nov. 27)

Paris – Jewish couple attacked in their flat, girl raped (Dec. 4)

Antwerp – Rabbi stabbed on his way to synagogue (Nov. 11)

Brussels – four people murdered in Jewish museum (May 24)

Larissa (Greece) – Jewish cemetery desecrated (Dec. 23)

Toulouse – three Jewish children shot by attacker in front of their school (March 19)

27th January 1945 was the day when Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau and other Nazi concentration and death camps.

Quotes on anti-Semitism

Dieter Graumann, president of Germany's Central Council of Jews: “We would never in our lives have thought it possible any more that anti-Semitic views of the nastiest and most primitive kind can be chanted on German streets.”

French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls: "To attack a Jew because he is a Jew is to attack France. To attack a synagogue and a kosher grocery store is quite simply anti-Semitism and racism".

Moshe Kantor, President of EJC: “I am not saying, as many of my colleagues have pronounced, that World War Three has already started. But I am saying that there are a lot of symptoms — the level of hatred in society, for example — which is symptomatic of the period just before a very severe crisis. The whole of Europe is guilty. There is too much tolerance of intolerance. Europe is not recognizing the symptoms before catastrophe.”

Danny Cohen, Director of BBC: “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually? And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”

Amir Eshel, professor of German studies: "What has changed is that young people are less biographically connected to the crimes of the past. When this happens, as the Holocaust drifts further in time, a certain sensibility arises that one should not be bound by the lessons of the past."

Past Let My People Live! Forum

2005: The first ever Let My people Live Forum took place in Krakow, Poland, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp liberation. The aim of the Forum was to ensure that future generations remain conscious of the Holocaust inheritance and are aware of the threats xenophobia creates. An educational program focused on Holocaust studies was launched.

2006: The second LMPL Forum took place 27th September 2006 in Kiev, Ukraine. The date was chosen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre, during which tens of thousands of Jews were murdered by German troops.

2010: The third LMPL Forum returned to Krakow, Poland, at the wake of the 65th anniversary of Auschwitz camp liberation.

Media Registration

In order to register to the planned events, please contact Sarka Blahova (sarka.blahova@amic.cz, or +420 724 518 026), who will provide a registration form for you to fill in. Due to security issues, only registered journalists who have filled in all the required information will be accredited.

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