World 'has not learnt from Holocaust'

A Holocaust memorial on the site of a former concentration camp in Hersbruck, Germany. Israeli Ambassador Yael Rubinstein says that on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the victims of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur
A Holocaust memorial on the site of a former concentration camp in Hersbruck, Germany. Israeli Ambassador Yael Rubinstein says that on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the victims of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, and the ongoing crisis in Syria, should be remembered too.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
A Holocaust memorial on the site of a former concentration camp in Hersbruck, Germany. Israeli Ambassador Yael Rubinstein says that on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the victims of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur
RABBI MORDECHAI ABERGELPHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Humanity has not learnt enough from the Holocaust to prevent another one from happening, said the leader of Singapore's Jewish community at a discussion yesterday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day today.

"When we speak about the Holocaust, we speak not about the murder of six million Jews as a number, but the murder of one individual repeated six million times," said Rabbi Mordechai Abergel, who has been Chief Rabbi of Singapore for about 22 years.

"Do you think that the people, government and society today have truly internalised that lesson? I don't think so," he said at the panel discussion at Singapore Management University, which was jointly organised by the Embassy of Hungary and the Embassy of Israel in Singapore.

The Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was designated by the United Nations in 2005, falls on Jan 27 every year to mark the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, on the same day in 1945. Some six million Jews were killed by the German Nazi regime during World War II.

Israeli Ambassador to Singapore Yael Rubinstein, who opened the event, said that the victims of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, and the ongoing crisis in Syria, should be remembered too on this day.

RIGHTING WRONGS

When we see something wrong, we think, 'Why would we want to get involved?'

But if you see a hateful comment on the Internet, react. If you see something that is not right, don't stay passive.

RABBI MORDECHAI ABERGEL

Rabbi Abergel, who noted during the discussion that the ideology of hate, fear and indifference still prevails today, later told The Straits Times: "We are losing today on the dialogue... to promote peace and harmony. We are losing in the battleground that is social media.

"When we see something wrong, we think, 'Why would we want to get involved?'

But if you see a hateful comment on the Internet, react. If you see something that is not right, don't stay passive.

"We are our own leaders - leaders of our own family, in our own setting. And we can use that influence for good, to promote common, sacred values that we all share - and that is how we fight xenophobia and racism."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'World 'has not learnt from Holocaust''. Print Edition | Subscribe