In reflecting on the history of the Shoah and the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hate, we do so in the hope its lessons are never lost and with the determination that we must do all we can to ensure such tragedies never again occur.
Though nearly four generations have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, the significance of Holocaust remembrance to the cause of freedom and justice remains as relevant and compelling as ever.
Around our world, we see divisions widening and conflicts deepening. We see the hardening of hearts and closing of minds. Indeed, the experiences of the past, as well as our own changing and challenging times, vividly highlight the continuing struggle for peace and understanding.
Here in Australia, we are proud of our diverse and harmonious society. But there is a need for all of us to remain vigilant against discrimination, fear and mistrust whenever it occurs.
Last year, I was proud to affirm our nation’s adherence to these ideals during my visit to Yad Vashem World Holocaust Centre in Jerusalem. Australia’s recent acceptance as a Liaison country in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance further strengthens this commitment. I look forward to Australia becoming a full member in due course.
With these thoughts in mind, I join with all people, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to reflect on the lessons of history, to honour the victims of the Holocaust and to reaffirm the enduring vow – Never again.