Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, called on world leaders to unite and stem the tide of anti-Semitism during Thursday’s March of the Living on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi camp in Poland.
“From this place, I call on world leaders to fight rampant anti-Semitism erupting around the world, especially the shocking and dramatic rise of hate crimes in Europe, Latin America [and] the United States,” he said. “It cannot be that 74 years later after that wretched war, Jews are once again unsafe on the streets of Europe. Jews cannot be murdered in Pittsburgh and San Diego or anywhere. Let us heed the warning and take to heart the lessons of the Holocaust. World leaders must unite with zero tolerance for hate crimes of any kind.”

In his speech, Herzog spoke about his father, Chaim Herzog, the sixth president of the State of Israel, who fought in the British army during World War II and was one of the liberators of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

“He crossed the River Rhine in one of the most challenging of battles of the war and reached Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945,” said Herzog. “As a young British officer, he walked towards the living skeletons and said to them in Yiddish: ‘I am a Jew, I am from Eretz Israel, and I came to rescue you.’ However, some of them thought that he was actually manipulating them, as Nazis did throughout the period. A few days later, on Friday evening, he led the prayers for those who survived the horror.”

Herzog led this year’s International March of the Living as the senior Israeli representative, along with other representatives from around the world, including U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations Danny Danon, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă and Speaker of the Greek Parliament Nikos Voutsis.