The Israeli envoy to Rwanda, Amb. Ron Adam, on Friday, underlined the importance of teaching the history of the Holocaust and other genocides to the young generations as well as delivering justice to survivors. He was speaking during a commemoration of the International Holocaust Memorial Day that took place at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. “I have a special connection to this day. One reason is being a second generation of holocaust survivors,” he said. “I grew up in a family where my parents preferred not to share their stories. My brother and I were affected by their decision.” He added: “My mother who passed away only five years ago told us about how she didn’t eat for nine weeks. My dad never said anything. His suffering was beyond sharing. Not after so many years after his passing that we got one of his letters detailing how he managed to escape the Nazi dogs and soldiers.” The envoy said that sharing of personal stories of the Holocaust in Israel did not start immediately after the end of World War II. It was only after 1977, he noted, when the government decided to include “this history” to be part of the curriculum of schools in Israel and “today many books (about the Holocaust) are written and printed”. “This is so important,” he noted, “due to the denials that are out there.” Amb. Adam said that as time passes and survivors are dying, like his parents, it becomes more important to share testimonies of the Holocaust and other similar tragedies like the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. He also spoke about the importance of holding those responsible for genocidal crimes accountable “before it is too late.” ‘For us it is too late, but not for Rwanda’ “I find it imperative to recover and bring criminals to justice wherever they are hiding around the world. We should do this before it is too late. For us it is late, but for Rwanda it is still relevant. Survivors deserve to see justice,” he said. In 2005, the UN General Assembly dedicated January 27 as the day of remembrance of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp by the allied forces in 1945. It is also the international day dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust victims. In October 2021, an exhibition depicting the memory of the Holocaust, antisemitism, antigypsyism, and racism was launched at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. After being a diplomat in the UN, and knowing well the processes and rules of procedures of the organization and after realising that the Holocaust is not mentioned and does not exist on the UN agenda, Adam said, he decided to make a difference. He initiated and drafted a New Resolution that was later on brought to the General Assembly. That resulted in the UN designating January 27 as an annual International day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It is a commemoration of the nearly six millions of Jews killed in Europe by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during the Second World War. ‘Failing the victims’ Speaking at the remembrance event in Kigali, Serge Brammertz, the Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, said: As international prosecutors, we are coming in when it's too late, when the international community, when humanity has failed the victims. So we are coming in when it is too late.” But prosecutors in this room will tell you that your stories and stories of other victims of other crimes committed in the world today remind us why it is important to fight for accountability, to make sure that those who are responsible for those crimes are punished. Dr. Emil Fish, a Holocaust survivor, warned that history repeats itself for those who refuse to learn from it. The reason I survived has nothing to do with me. Every survivor has a story to him or herself. There's nothing in common in every tool because you have to have luck, courage, faith, physical strength, knowing the right people...in short you just had to be lucky. READ ALSO: Holocaust: Rwanda stands with Israel in remembrance Rwanda’s Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement Jean-Damascene Bizimana reiterated Rwanda’s solidarity with the people of Israel in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. “Rwanda attaches great importance to the memory of the Holocaust. At our Genocide memorial sites, the Holocaust is explained to visitors. In the school curriculum, Rwandan youth and students are also taught about the history of the Holocaust. The Rwandan government is by your side as you remember this horrible event and pay respect with you in memory of the victims and to ensure that 'never again' becomes a reality at all times.” Bizimana said the commemoration was an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the Holocaust and “recall the deep, fundamental human values that the Holocaust shamefully violated.” The 78th commemoration of the Holocaust in Rwanda was attended by various high-profile figures, including Dr Ozonnia Ojielo, UN Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UN Secretary General to Rwanda. Ojielo said, In 2023, the theme guiding the UN Holocaust remembrance and education is: ‘Home and Belonging’. It highlights the humanity of the Holocaust victims and survivors, who had their homes and a sense of belonging ripped from them by the perpetrators of the Holocaust. The theme reminds us of our responsibility to respond with humanity to the victims of atrocity crimes, to counter hate speech, antisemitism, Holocaust distortion and denial, and prejudice – to do all we can to prevent genocide. Warning of ethnic cleansing in DR Congo The event took place in the same week a senior UN envoy on the prevention of genocide renewed her call for action to end targeted ethnic killings in parts of eastern DR Congo. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the United Nations Special Advisor on Genocide Prevention, who last month made a similar appeal and warned of possible genocidal killings against Rwandophones in DR Congo, expressed concerns over ongoing violence in Ituri province. “Whilst the situation in North and South Kivu requires immediate action, so does the situation in Ituri. Civilians are being massacred based on ethnic identity, yet again,” Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the United Nations Advisor on Genocide Prevention said in a statement released earlier this week. “The conditions necessary for the commission of atrocity crimes continue to be present in a region where a genocide happened in 1994,” she said, referring to the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda which claimed the lives of over a million people in a space of 100 days. The main perpetrators fled to neighbouring DR Congo where they formed a militia group, FDLR, which is currently fighting alongside the Congolese army, FARDC, against the M23 rebels.