The ceremony of awarding the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, who is an honorary member of the Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation with the “Raoul Wallenberg 100th Anniversary” Medal took place at the Presidential Palace. Raoul Wallenberg was a renowned Swedish diplomat who during the World War II saved thousands of Jews from death.
At the event, the Foundation also paid posthumous honors to doctor Harutyun Khatchatrian for his rescue activities during the Holocaust. He was also awarded the “Raoul Wallenberg 100th Anniversary” Medal, which was handed to his granddaughter Anna Khatchatrian.
In their remarks, the Founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Baruch Tenembaum and Vice President Daniel Rainer presented the history of creation of the Foundation, its mission and activities and underscored that the aim of this international foundation is to create educational programs and through the greater awareness to enroot values of civil valor and solidarity based on the examples of those who during the Holocaust were saving human lives.
The Foundation supports historical research, part of which is dedicated to the gathering and publication of the information about individuals saved by R. Wallenberg and other people who had manifested such bravery. The representatives of the Foundation expressed their gratitude to numerous Armenians who saved many human lives during the Holocaust. All of them will be paid tribute to; the history of their heroic lives will be studied meticulously and published.
President Serzh Sargsyan in his remarks attached the utmost importance to the mission of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, expressed thanks for the award and spoke about Armenia’s policies aimed at the prevention and condemnation of the crimes of genocide and uniting efforts of the international community in the fight against the phenomena which cultivate them.
Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the “Raoul Wallenberg 100 Anniversary” Medal award ceremony
Distinguished Mr. Tenembaum and Mr. Eurnekian,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The “Raoul Wallenberg 100 Anniversary” Medal for me is not only a great honor but it also holds a special meaning. It embodies the noble values of humanity and courageous spirit which are professed by the Armenian people. The sons of the Armenian nation, who didn’t adapt to and didn’t tolerate the gravest crimes in the human history, were guided by these very values. They put their lives in peril to save many other peoples’ lives.
The history of Doctor Harutyun Khatchatrian is an example, an excellent one, but just one among many of saving human lives from the calamity of genocide. As a son of the nation which survived genocide, I have special feelings for each of such stories.
I attach the utmost importance to the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s mission to shed light on such heroic stories. The mission of broadcasting the stories such as Raoul Wallenberg’s and people like him and educating generations in that spirit has a special import not only for enrooting humanity and human courage and preserving the memory of the victims of genocides, but it also greatly helps in assessing the past impartially and thus supports efforts aimed at condemnation and prevention of such horrendous crimes against humanity.
My special thanks go to the Founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Baruch Tenembaum, the Chairman of the Foundation, our compatriot Eduardo Eurnekian and, of course, to the entire staff of the Foundation for their dedication, thank you.
Our fate has destined us to become the front fighters in the fight against genocides. Indeed, nations, which had gone through such a catastrophe, have a special mission in preventing it from happening again. The best formula for preventing crimes against humanity is the elucidation of those horrific pages of the human history and the evaluation of the past in the light of all-human values. I believe it is equally important to fight against the prerequisites which breed such crimes.
The Republic of Armenia is doing her best to prevent the crimes of genocide and to unite efforts of the international community in the fight against occurrences which feed them. For years, Armenia has been introducing in different international settings resolutions aimed at the prevention of genocides. It was also due to our efforts that the UN Human Rights Council in different years has adopted a number of resolutions aimed at the prevention of genocides. They are called upon to constantly hold in the center of the international community’s attention the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and to remind the states of their commitment to eliminated crimes against humanity.
It is no accident, that at the Ministerial Committee in the Council of Europe, Armenia has declared the fight against intolerance, discrimination and hate propaganda a priority of her presidency. We think it is shameful that in the contemporary world such occurrences not only continue to exist but are being promoted by certain forces, including on the state level. We must be determined to eradicate such manifestations in any corner of the world.
In conclusion, I once again address my words of appreciation to the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation for their mission of preserving memory. If we forget the Great Eghern, Holocaust and stop mentioning the victims of these sinister crimes, if we do not recall and pay tribute to all those who had been saving lives from the claws of genocide, we would be accomplices in the repetition of such appalling crimes. The American thinker of the Jewish descent Elie Wiesel put it precisely right: “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”
We, Armenians are deeply convinced that the Holocaust could had been prevented if there had been memory of the first genocide of the 20th century perpetrated against Armenians, if it had been duly condemned and those guilty had their due punishment. With this regard, I express thanks to the Wallenberg Foundation for the efforts along with the Holocaust to gather information about the individuals and organizations which had been saving lives during the Armenian Genocide. This mission is particularly valuable on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.