CARDIFF, Wales (Combined Sources)—Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones on Wednesday lead events in the capital, Cardiff, marking Holocaust Memorial Day. In his remarks, Jones also paid homage to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and drew parallels between the two atrocities.
Jones and Cardiff Council leader Rodney Berman hosted the service, marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, at the Cardiff city council building. The memorial was cosponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff’s City Council.
“It is a time to reflect on the most shameful period in the history of modern Europe and an important opportunity to remember those killed in subsequent genocides including Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur,” Jones said.
The event’s keynote speaker was Rabbi Aron Hier from the Los Angeles Simon Wiesenthal Center, who spoke of the tragic destruction of life during the Holocaust and drew connections between Hitler’s plans to wipe out Europe’s Jews with Ottoman Turkey’s Genocide of the Armenians.
After the event, wreaths were laid at the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial in Cardiff’s Alexandra Gardens as well as at the restored Armenian Genocide Monument behind the Temple of Peace. The monument, made of sandstone and Welsh slate, was damaged and desecrated in 2008.
Among the many wreaths and bouquets laid at the memorial was one that read: “In memory of the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Victims of the 1915 Genocide, of the 1933 Simel Massacres and of the 2003-2010 ethnic cleansing in Iraq”. Father Shnork Baghdassaryan offered prayers for the victims and survivors of genocide at the cross-stone memorial.