Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust during a visit to the former Auschwitz death camp on Monday, as survivors and world leaders gathered in Poland to commemorate 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“I am greatly moved to come to this place, which has been identified more than any other with human barbarity. Truthfully, if there was a hell on this earth, then it was here,” Mitsotakis said, adding that his visit sought to pay tribute to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in WWII, including 65,000 Greek Jews, of which 55,000 had died in Auschwitz.
Quoting noted historian Ian Kershaw, who said that “the road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference,” Mitsotakis said that 75 years after the liberation of the concentration camp, the world had to make a commitment to “never forget what happened here”.
“We must also never forget that hatred, discrimination, and intolerance have no place in our democracy. And our democracy must be strong and fight all such phenomena with determination,” the prime minister said, adding:
“Some of the Greek Jews that were here and rose up on October 7, 1944, in the great revolt that took place in Crematorium IV died singing the words of the national anthem. Some of them, in personal accounts that have survived, wrote that they died happy, knowing that their country was already free. It is the memory of these Greek Jews that we honour today. Together with the promise, which we all make, that humanity must never again experience such an unspeakable tragedy.”
The PM and his wife Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki were shown around the camp and the areas where the prisoners were kept, as well as the gas chambers where more than 1,100,000 people were killed.