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President Tsai delivers remarks at International Holocaust Remembrance Day event
President Tsai delivers remarks at International Holocaust Remembrance Day event

On the afternoon of April 19, President Tsai Ing-wen attended an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event and delivered remarks, in which she said that Taiwan is working with our international partners to advance religious freedom, fight discrimination, promote gender equality, and advocate for human rights and democracy. The president also expressed hope that we can leave a better and more inclusive world to future generations.

Upon arrival, President Tsai took in a musical performance and watched as a rabbi recited the prayer "El Male Rachamim," before joining other distinguished guests to light candles in memory of the Holocaust's victims.

A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:

I want to begin by thanking the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO), the German Institute Taipei, and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy for co-organizing this important event again this year. I also want to thank all of you for setting aside your time to come here today to remember those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, to pay tribute to those who survived, and to acknowledge the suffering of all who were affected by this tragedy in human history.

I want to extend a special thanks to the Holocaust survivor, Ms. Sarah Goodman, who is joining us today. Her account on escaping the Nazi regime can only be considered as a miracle. I am grateful she is willing to share her harrowing experience with us today. 

I also want to thank Susan (約阿咪) of Israel Mega for moderating Ms. Goodman's testimony today. Susan is one of the wonderful examples of young Taiwanese who dedicate themselves to being a bridge of friendship between Taiwan and the world. Her travel blog, Israel Mega, not only shares testimonies about the Holocaust, it also features Israel-related content for the Taiwanese people – content on culture, history, religion, and society. 

Each year, we gather here to remember those who perished in the Holocaust, as well as the suffering of all touched by this tragedy. It is only through sharing the memories of the Holocaust victims that we can reflect on the lessons of this dark moment in human history. We are also here today to reaffirm our commitment to never let such a tragedy happen again. As we dedicate ourselves to never forgetting the past, we must also remember those who continue to suffer at the hands of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships, only because they are of different ethnic origins, gender orientation, political ideology, or religion. We need to work together to bring awareness to and put an end to this suffering.  

As part of our efforts, starting from 2021, our Ministry of Education's human rights resource center, Israel's Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center – and the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, co-organized workshops to raise awareness on the history of the Holocaust. 

In addition, our Control Yuan also collaborated with the ISECO on a special exhibition titled Shoah: How was it Humanly Possible? This exhibition featured historical records and artefacts from the Holocaust, so the people of Taiwan, especially the youth, could gain an understanding of this atrocity. The exhibition received serious attention, especially from teachers and students from central and southern Taiwan. 

Just last week, Taiwan donated US$100,000 to Yad Ezer Lechaver, an Israeli NGO, through our representative office in Tel Aviv. This NGO will use the donation to establish a motorcycle unit to provide food, medicine, and home care for Holocaust survivors. In addition, Taiwan is proactively working with our international partners to enhance religious freedom, fight against discrimination, and promote gender equality. Through these bilateral, multilateral, and civil society initiatives, we believe Taiwan will continue to be a force and a strong advocate for human rights and democracy. 

Domestically, Taiwan continues its proactive effort to realize transitional justice for our people. The Executive Yuan is establishing new government bodies to further instill the values of transitional justice in our policy implementation. We also continue to rescind convictions of those who were wrongly charged with trumped-up crimes. We hope this will help bring some closure and comfort to the victims of the White Terror era and their families. 

A few months ago, we marked the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. As we witness the Ukrainians continue to bravely defend their democracy and freedom, their courage serves as a constant reminder of the importance of safeguarding and upholding the values we all share: democracy, freedom, equality, and peace.

As we are confronted with the growing threat of authoritarianism, we owe it to the memory of those who came before us to protect what they fought so hard for. We have to continue to work together with our democratic partners and like-minded friends, so we can leave a better world to future generations. 

I want to thank you all again for taking part in this important event. Even though we have our share of difficult pasts, we have come a long way. And, together with our democratic partners and the international community, we will strive to realize a better and more inclusive future. 

Also in attendance at the event were ISECO Representative Omer Caspi, and German Institute Taipei Director General Jörg Polster.

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