The following statement was read today on behalf of Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the senior democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in Prishtina, Kosovo commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"I am honored to add my voice to yours in this year's commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day in Prishtina. Every year this day recalls the most solemn and tragic of events, the Shoah or Holocaust. The genocide against the Jews and others by the Nazis and their collaborators remains to this day a stain upon the history of Europe. Your commemoration is another fitting reminder that we must never forget the calamities of the past so that they will never be repeated.
Nevertheless, this Holocaust Memorial Day in Prishtina is different from others in years past as it takes place in a country which now pays tribute to the Jews who were lost in the Holocaust. The memorial installed last year in Prishtina shows the world that Kosova is among the great nations which stand with those who declare, "Never forget." For Kosovars, who faced an act of attempted genocide only fifteen short years ago, this remembrance is even more important and the need to understand and recall the past is even more present than for many other peoples.
But, as Israeli President Shimon Peres recently said, 'The history of the Holocaust is not just a lesson from the past, it is also a lesson for the future. . . . [W]e must maintain our moral legacy, which withstood even impossible situations . . . and guard against humanity ever losing its humanity again.'
Therefore, on this Holocaust Memorial Day, I would like to extend my hand of continuing friendship to all of the people of Kosova, and especially to Bet Israel Kosova - the Jewish community - for helping to keep alive the memory of those who were lost."