New Brazilian president speaks at Holocaust ceremony

New Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony that “the Holocaust is not and will never be just a historic moment.”

“The duty of the memory should not be mistaken for passiveness of the ordinary remembrance,” Rousseff said at the Jan. 27 ceremony. “Memory is the human weapon to prevent the repetition of the barbarism.”

The ceremony was held by Jewish officials in Porto Alegre, the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul state and home of Brazil’s third-largest Jewish community with some 12,000 Jews. The state also has a large number of German descendants and has been the site of several neo-Nazi attacks.

“We must not allow any kind of human rights violation in any country, and especially in Brazil,” added Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, who started her term a month ago. “The Jewish tradition and dignity integrate the Brazilian nationality in a special way.” — jta