Commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day at the parliament in Palma. | Miquel A. Cañellas


A moving ceremony took place in Palma yesterday to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. On the 72th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, members of various religious denominations together with top politicians joined in a simple but highly poignant ceremony.

The impressive red-flocked and mirrored reception room of Palma’s parliament building was packed with over a hundred Majorcan residents gathered to show their respect. Vicenc Thomas, the vice-president of parliament, made a short emotional speech in which he denounced the "crime against humanity".

President of the Jewish Community Abraham Barchilon then spoke on behalf of the local Jewish congregation, insisting that especially the youth of today should never forget the unspeakable atrocities that took place in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. Vicenc Thomas on behalf of parliament led the ceremonious lighting of seven candles, followed by members of the island’s Jewish Community. After the final candle was solemnly ignited, community member Cesar Ribba stepped forward to sing El Male Rajamin, a highly emotional Hebrew prayer to the dead.

Finally, a short film was shown of a survivor relating a heartfelt story of her time in a concentration camp. She told how as a child she had given the precious morsel of chocolate that she had carefully kept hidden to a new born baby. Decades later a woman approached her during a holocaust ceremony and offered her a morsel of chocolate. The stranger simply stated: "I was that baby".

As the candles flickered in memory of over six million murdered, 1.5 million of them innocent children, locals and dignitaries mingled warmly before quietly departing. While similar services were taking part all over the world, Palma’s format was short and dignified, perfectly befitting the occasion.