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'We must never forget the Holocaust'

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'We must never forget the Holocaust'
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at the Stockholm Synagogue commemorative ceremony on Tuesday. Photo: TT
07:52 CET+01:00
Sweden marked the sombre 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp on Tuesday at several locations, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven noting that hate is still a sore reality in Sweden.
Holocaust survivors, Swedens King and Queen and the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven were among those attending the main ceremony at Stockholm's Great Synagogue on Tuesday evening. 
 
"We must never forget, never deny, and never belittle this wound in human history," Löfven said before the large crowd gathered at Raoul Wallenberg Square, where Sweden's main Synagogue is located.
 
"We must openly and honestly talk plainly about what is happening," he added. "It's time to learn from history and never let hatred take root in our society."
 
"I light that light for for the one and a half million children murdered during the Holocaust," survivor Hania Rosenberg said as she opened the memorial ceremony by lighting a candle.
 
Lena Posner-Körösi, Chairman of Stockholm's Jewish community, pointed out that violence and threats against Jews in Sweden has increased in recent years and that Swedish politicians have to address it.
 
"To remember is not enough, it is action that counts," she said.
 
Löfven was quick to concur, telling the crowd:
 
"Approximately 5,500 hate crimes are reported each year in our country. Anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic. Prejudices and conspiracy theories are spreading, synagogues and mosques vandalized, and Roma camps burned. And just last week, we once again hear testimonies about the persecution of Jews in Malmö."
 
"I refuse as a human being, as a Swede, and as a Prime Minister to quietly tolerate this. All people should be able to feel secure and exercise their faith in our country - to feel secure in their identity and culture. We can accept nothing else."
 
Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the ceremony on Tuesday. Photo: TT
 
Israel and America's ambassadors to Sweden Isaac Bachman and Mark Brzezinski were also present at Tuesday's main ceremony in Stockholm, which was organized by the Living History Forum, a  Swedish public authority which uses the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as a starting point to work with issues on tolerance, democracy and human rights.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, a ceremony was held at the Swedish parliament. It was attended by survivors of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, a women's concentration camp located in northern Germany during the Second World War.
 
Other events took place on Tuesday at synagogues in Gothenburg, Norrköping and Malmö, while Borås in southern Sweden hosted one of the country’s largest exhibitions on the Holocaust.
 
In 2005, the European Union coined January 27th as "International Holocaust Remembrance Day", to commemorate the day in 1945 when the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau network of concentration camps in southern Poland, where it is estimated about 1.1 victims were killed.
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