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B’nai B’rith International sponsored and participated in Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations across Latin America in Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela during January. 

On Jan. 27 and 28, B’nai B’rith Mexico sponsored several events in and around Mexico City, including two Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies held in the Mexican Congress. A special session of the Foreign Affairs Committee was held honoring the life of Mexican diplomat Gilberto Bosques Saldivar, who saved hundreds of Jews during the Nazi occupation of France.

A special session of the Chamber of Deputies was also held, where German Ambassador Edmund Duckwitz addressed the room and acknowledged B’nai B’rith Mexico for its work in developing the program “Educating Not to Forget.”

B’nai B’rith also co-sponsored an event at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City.  B’nai B’rith Director of Latin America Affairs Eduardo Kohn and Board of Governors member Dan Tartakowski represented B’nai B’rith at all of the events in Mexico.

Brazil held its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Jan. 30. The event was sponsored by São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and was held in the city’s federal building with Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer as the event’s keynote speaker. B’nai B’rith Brazil was represented at the ceremony.

B’nai B’rith Argentina sponsored a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Ministry of Education, where the ministers of education, foreign affairs and justice addressed a crowd of politicians, diplomats and Jewish community leaders.

The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry hosted a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in San José with First Vice President Alfio Piva and Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo as the keynote speakers.

B’nai B’rith Panama joined Jewish community leaders and several ambassadors for a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Ombudsman Hall in Panama City. Lila Herrera, Panama’s ombudswoman, was the event’s host and keynote speaker.

B’nai B’rith Guatemala was in attendance for a Remembrance Day ceremony in Israel square, in Guatemala City. Congressmen addressed the crowd, filled with other legislative officials, ambassadors and members of the Jewish community.

In Ecuador, the Jewish community leaders, including those involved in B’nai B’rith, organized an interfaith Remembrance Day event with members of the Christian community. The ceremony was held at Santo Domingo de Guzman, a Catholic university in Quito.

In Peru, Jewish community leaders and local politicians gathered in Callao, a province just west of Lima, for a Remembrance Day ceremony, led by Israeli Ambassador Modi Ephraim.

On Jan. 27, the Uruguayan Parliament held a special session to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. Minister of Education and Culture Ricardo Ehrlich addressed the legislative body and his speech was broadcast across the country on TV and radio.

B’nai B’rith Chile organized a commemoration ceremony at the headquarters of the Chamber of Deputies on Jan. 27 with Minister of Defense Rodrigo Hinzpeter as the keynote speaker. Apostolic Nuncio to Chile Monsignor Ivo Scapolo, as well as a number of congressmen, also addressed those in attendance.

Additionally, the congresses of Paraguay and Peru commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day, also sponsored by the countries’ respective branches of B’nai B’rith. At each commemoration, members of the Jewish community participated in the ceremonies. 

The Venezuelan National Assembly paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust on Jan. 28, and a leader in the Venezuelan Jewish community, David Bittan, addressed the assembly, and thanked them for taking part in the day of remembrance. The event was broadcast on live television, radio and streamed on the Internet.