69 years since Auschwitz was liberated

We are on our way back to Warsaw from Auschwitz.

It is dark around us on the road but luckily the weather conditions are good. No snowfall, no slippery surface. My wife Karin and I have for the third year in a row participated in the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz 69 years ago. As always an extremely important as well as touching experience.

The presence of survivors adds a very special dimension. Two of them gave speeches today, both telling stories that took the atrocities to the individual level and thus making it impossible to keep the distance.

Additionally the Director of the museum Piotr Cywinski gave a remarkable speech, stressing not least the personal responsibility of everyone of us to apply the lessons that the Holocaust has taught us. And to do it now because the future is not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. It starts today.

A crucial message that needs to be constantly repeated when intolerance, xenophobia, racism and antisemitism are appearing – as they still are in many places in Europe. Often linked to homophobia as well.

There is a lot to be done to preserve Auschwitz-Birkenau for future generations. Many countries are contributing, and I am very happy that our Government now has added a second grant of 1 million kronor to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, thus doubling the Swedish donation.

Next year the commemoration will, no doubt, have even greater proportions since by then 70 years will have passed after the liberation. I will however return to Auschwitz even earlier when the 70th Anniversary of the extermination of the remaining Roma people there will be commemorated early August this year.

When we arrive to Warsaw we will be joining the Standing Committe for Trade and Industry from the Swedish Parliament that today has started a two day visit to Poland. One more example of the ever growing interest for this country in Sweden.

Long working day but very important and very rewarding to say the least.

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