Jewish Students to Hold Minutes of Silence Across Europe to Commemorate the Holocaust and Call Attention to Rising Antisemitism and Racism

Brussels, January 27th, 2015 – Members of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), together with non-Jewish youth, will hold minutes of silence at sites across Europe, including at Auschwitz, Theresienstadt and Bergen-Belsen, in memory of the millions of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. The project will also include officials at the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, and be accompanied by a social media campaign.

 “We are organizing this project in conjunction with the European Jewish Congress (EJC) in order to draw attention to the plight of Jews and other minorities who are questioning their future in Europe due to the rise of hate crimes and violent attacks – As most recently experienced in Paris.” Jane Braden-Golay, president of EUJS, said.

 “Of all the events to commemorate the Holocaust and discuss the future, one that expresses the concerns of our youth, whose future on the continent is in serious doubt, is of undoubted importance,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said. “It is important that Europe takes note of these young voices who are crying out for our leaders to take note.”  

In the face of rising Antisemitism, racism, religious radicalism, and far-right parties winning ground, Jewish students are seeking to take action. Therefore, EUJS has decided to participate in the European Jewish Congress’ Fourth International Let My People Live! Forum and their mission to engage European decision-makers in ensuring a vibrant, safe and diverse Jewish life rooted in European societies.

 As a youth organization, EUJS is dedicated to reaching out to other young people, sharing knowledge and building relationships. For this reason, and in addition to the Let My People Live! Forum, EUJS and the European Jewish Congress are collaborating on this unique, Europe-wide initiative named “United Minute of Silence” that will bring together Europeans on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th 2015. 

“As Jewish students, we are sometimes on the frontlines of hate and have decided that we should partner with other organizations to make our voices heard,” said Jane Braden-Golay, President of EUJS. “Commemorating the victims of the Holocaust enables conversations on the current crisis of hatred in Europe. As we mourn the souls that perished, we also promise to take action in the here and now to stem all forms of hate and bigotry.” 

With the support of the EJC, six events will take place: European youth will participate in educational programs at the Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz sites, and then join in the Europe-wide “United Minute of Silence”. At the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, officials and employees will also participate in the project. All six “Minutes of Silence” will be live broadcast to the European Jewish Congress’ Let My People Live! Forum, sending a strong message to the decision makers present at the conference of united, cross-European and cross-generational commemoration and reflection on the Holocaust.  

“While acts of remembrance and paying homage to the victims are integral to our message, it is no less critical for us to be part of this collective commitment and action to safeguard the values and freedoms upon which the European Union was founded.” Dr. Kantor added.   

Media Contact: Jane Braden-Golay, EUJS President, jane@eujs

 The European Union of Jewish Students is the umbrella organization of 35 national Jewish student unions across Europe. Entirely youth-lead, EUJS represents Jewish students at the United Nations and European level, advocates for the rights and interests of Jewish students and organizes events and seminars for its members. 

The European Jewish Congress is the umbrella organization federating the 42 elected leaders of national Jewish communities in Europe, encompassing approximately 2.5 million Jews.