Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial
Sign against racism and intolerance: “Every person matters”
On Monday November 18, 2013, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial. Together with Polish vocational school students from Bielsko-Biala and Volkswagen trainees from Wolfsburg, the Secretary-General and his wife laid flowers at the Memorial at the end of the railway line in Birkenau. Marian Turski, the Polish Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee and Auschwitz survivor, and Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice-President of the IAC, accompanied Ban Ki-moon during his visit.
In his speech at the Memorial, Ban Ki-moon said: “For all the victims, let us affirm that we will never forget. For our shared future, let us embrace our common duty as members of the human family to build a world of peace, justice, equality and human dignity for all.” Gazing out across the memorial site, he continued: “In this haunting silence, we see the remnants of human life, we hear the cry of history and humanity. And through all of this, it becomes ever more clear that every life is precious. Every person matters.”
“Auschwitz lies like a magnifying glass over the world and shows where racism and intolerance end when societies do not defend themselves,” said Christoph Heubner. “The Auschwitz survivors also regard this visit by the Secretary-General as a sigh of recognition for their worldwide educational and political engagement against hatred, anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.”
In addition, Christoph Heubner emphasized: “The United Nations give the survivors hope, that the world can no longer close its eyes to genocide and human rights violations. Here in particular, on the ground of Auschwitz and Birkenau, the indispensable and enduring need for the United Nations becomes visibly clear. And it is for this reason that the survivors are deeply grateful to the Secretary-General and all of the United Nations’ colleagues for their commitment.”
Follow this link for the full text of the speech by the United Nations Secretary-General: read more