OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism encouraged by initial steps to support Holocaust education and remembrance in Moldova
CHISINAU, 3 March 2017 – The Personal Representative of the Austrian OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Andrew Baker, today concluded his first official visit to Moldova, where he met with government and Jewish community representatives to discuss measures to strengthen the commemoration and study of the Holocaust in Moldova and to combat anti-Semitism, intolerance and hate crimes.
Rabbi Baker hailed the fact that Moldova recently became the 34th OSCE participating State to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day as a milestone. He welcomed the government’s adoption of the Elie Wiesel international commission report, and the adoption of an action plan of concrete measures to promote Holocaust commemoration and education in Moldova.
“During my meetings, the Moldovan government clearly acknowledged that what matters now is taking concrete steps to implement the words of this action plan,” said Rabbi Baker.
Rabbi Baker was encouraged by the Parliament Speaker’s plans to hold a special session on Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2018. He also welcomed an initiative by the Ministry of Culture to develop a museum of Jewish history in Chisinau.
“All these activities constitute vital steps to insure against a repeat of the terrible events that took place right here in Moldova and to guarantee the long-term stability of the country’s Jewish community,” said Rabbi Baker.
In his meetings with Jewish community representatives in Chisinau, Rabbi Baker acknowledged their outstanding efforts and direct contributions towards maintaining memorial sites and educating society about the Holocaust in a local context. He encouraged the government to deepen its co-operation with the Jewish community in realizing its own initiatives. To this end, Prime Minister Pavel Filip expressed openness to discussing the subject of Jewish communal property.
“As the Prime Minister himself noted, implementation is the key to bringing these efforts to fruition,” Rabbi Baker said. “That is why in my meetings I also emphasized the need to dedicate the government’s own resources to institutionalizing Holocaust education and remembrance activities in Moldova.”
Rabbi Baker’s visit follows on from ongoing efforts by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to assist the authorities in increasing awareness and understanding of the Holocaust in Moldova. To this end, in October 2016 the OSCE brought together government and civil society representatives to develop measures to strengthen Holocaust remembrance and education in Moldova. It has also facilitated their participation at events aimed at the exchange of international good practices.