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Freeing the world of holocaust

Marek Edelman is one of the last surviving leaders of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. From 4 to 6 May, to share his experience with participants, he attended a seminar in Cracow on teaching remembrance through cultural heritage.

Photo: Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the insurrection at the Warsaw ghetto [left] and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger


Question : Sixty years on, what lesson do you draw from your appalling experience?

Marek Edelman : The basic issue is not the ghetto but the human individual. Human beings are intrinsically aggressive, and that is what made holocaust a possibility. The threat became acute in the 20th century because we were caught between two fascist regimes, Germany and Russia. With the end of the second world war you might have thought there would be no more holocaust, but that was not to be. We had Cambodia and Rwanda, to name but two.
Humanity’s future hinges on respect for the individual life.

This seminar is extremely important because education ministers have a crucial role. We need them to have the kind of vision possessed by a Schuman or a Mendes-France or a de Gasperi – the people we have to thank for a Europe without borders and our hopes of a holocaust-free future.

Civilisation, culture and education are the keys to countering aggression. Our hopes of an end to war and holocaust and of a friendlier world lie in them.