29 January 2023

On 27 January, the date on which Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, the world came together to remember the millions who were brutally and systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January, is when the world collectively honors the victims and bears witness to a pledge that, by remembering the horrors of the Holocaust, never again will truly be never again.

Moldova officially recognised International Holocaust Memorial Day in 2014.

This last year has been a difficult one for the Jewish people and other vulnerable communities around the world – and Moldova has been no exception. Rising antisemitism and the increased spread of Holocaust denial online has led to new threats that demand urgent action.

With this in mind, 2023 saw the Jewish Community of the Republic of Moldova (JCM) launch its most visible and proactive campaign for the International Holocaust Memorial Day yet.

More than 100 activities took place around the country. Commemoration meetings were organized by the Jewish Communities in Balti, Orhei, Cahul, Tiraspol, Bender, Soroca, Dubasari and Ribnita. There have also been exhibitions, roundtables and seminars taking place around the country to mark this day.

Alexander Bilinkis, the President of the Jewish Community of Moldova, attended the meetings in Tiraspol and Bender on 27 January. During his speech, Mr Bilinkis spoke of the part of his family that came from the left bank of Nistru and so he feels a personal engagement in the commemoration activities organized there.

At the central memorial in Chisinau, the meeting brought together the leadership of the country: President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, MPs, diplomats, leaders of human rights and minority organizations and young people. In his address, the President of the Jewish Community of Molodova declared that
“It is through events, meetings, eyewitness accounts, efforts to reduce history distortion and denial that we learn from the past in order to protect our future – as described by the slogan of this year’s #WeRemember campaign.”

#WeRemember in Moldova

JCM, as a member of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), took part in WJC and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s annual #WeRemember campaign for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Learn more about the campaign by watching the JCM press conference held on 26 January this year, by clicking here

In Moldova this year, ambassadors, members of civil society and politicians took part in the campaign. The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nicu Popescu, ambassadors of countries such as the US, UK, Sweden, Germany, France, Israel, the Head of the EU Delegation, the UNHCR Country Representative and the UN Resident Coordinator as well as many diplomats, public figures and civil society leaders, all took part in the campaign by posting a message about the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day with a picture of themselves holding a placard saying #WeRemember.

The #WeRemember campaign culminated this year with a projection on the Moldovan Parliament building. A common feature of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the EU, Germany, Israel and USA, this was the first time the phrase ‘#WeRemember’ has been projected onto a Moldovan state building. The illumination display was the initiative of the Jewish Community of Moldova, who received support from the World Jewish Congress and Moldovan Government, to make this powerful display a reality. The local public authorities also supported the display of posters in public transport and the Jewish Community displayed them on public transport stations.

Greater visibility for Holocaust Memorial Day is crucial in Moldova. As the number of survivors grows fewer with each passing year, it’s our shared responsibility to preserve the memory of the victims and ensure that the past is never forgotten.