It is with the deepest respect, that I welcome you today to the Monument of Cyprus - Israel Friendship, dedicated to the children of Holocaust survivors born in Cyprus in the period 1946 – 1949.

This Memorial site stands as a symbol and unshakable testament of the enduring friendship between Cyprus and the State of Israel.

During the period of World War II and the following years, Cyprus hosted a large number of Holocaust survivors. This year marks the 75th anniversary since the closure of British camps in Cyprus, where a significant number of Jewish Holocaust survivors were relocated and held.

Having escaped the concentration death camps, their only wish was to rebuild their lives peacefully with their families, contributing thus to the development of their homeland.

Thousands of them, on their way to their new homeland found temporary shelter in Cyprus.

Cyprus became the safe harbour for the Holocaust survivors, providing the security that had been sorely lacking in their lives.

Moved by feelings of humanity and compassion, Cyprιots provided support, comfort, and solidarity to more than 50,000 Jewish people in the British detention camps in Karaolos at Ammochostos, Xylotymbou, and Dekelia.

During this time, and until the closure of the last camp in February 1949, 2200 Jewish children were born in Cyprus, creating an everlasting, unbreakable bond between our two countries.

Some of them are among us today and honour us with their presence here. They are an embodiment of human resilience and hope in the face of abject difficulties a triumph of the human spirit

Ladies and gentlemen,

Almost eight decades after the closure of the Nazi death camps, it is still impossible to fully comprehend the abysmal   depths of inhumanity of the decision for the implementation of the horrific systematic mass extermination of Jews - the most abominable crime ever experienced by humanity.

Their creation and operation in occupied Poland and elsewhere, of extermination camps, demonstrates a well - planned and thoroughly "industrialized" strategy for the complete annihilation of European Jews, of Roma and Sinti, of Slavs, of people with disabilities, of homosexuals and others who were deemed to be subhuman, ‘untemenschen’ by the Nazi regime. Millions of people were exterminated in European death camps, on the grounds of their religious belief, their ethnic origin, their ‘otherness’

The story of more than fifty thousand Jews who managed to escape from Europe and ended up in Cyprus is a tragic reality of modern history that we have to highlight for younger and future generations.

Our presence here today serves as a gate for remembrance and reflection, a reminder of our obligation to respect, defend and protect human dignity

It is an incentive for studying and understanding history, not only to honour the victims of the Holocaust and its survivors, but also to understand the imperative of preserving historical memory.

This camp, where the first cry of the 2200 Jewish children born in Cyprus was heard, is an integral part of Jewish and Cypriot history.

It is a reminder of the long journey and herculean effort made by thousands of Jews until the establishment of the State of Israel.

As we respectfully approach one of the darkest pages of history, we pay tribute to the spirit of human resilience that resisted inhumanity conditions, oppression, physical and mental abuse and abasement, and the incomprehensible mass exterminations that took place in the death camps.

Revisiting the past, this darkest period of human history, we are called upon to reflect and contemplate the persecution and humiliation suffered by millions of people.

Today, here at the Cyprus - Israel Friendship Monument, a profound sense of sorrow weighs upon us.

A sorrow that arises from the voices of the six million Jews who perished and from the trauma suffered by the survivors

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

The message of the event is that every human life has equal value and must be protected.

We have the duty to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust will be preserved to act as a guide for the future.

Drawing strength from history, we must firmly stand up against violence, antisemitism and all forms of racism, social inequality, intolerance and discrimination

We have to work towards a world where peace, reconciliation, collaboration, and respect for human dignity prevail.

Once again, thank you all for attending this solemn event and for your kind attention.