The traveling commemorative plaque of the project "Traces to Remember" was stationed at Colegio Colombo Hebreo in Bogota. With knowledge about their past, new generations at the college can raise awareness and make changes to preserve their identity, protect their fundamental right to exist like the rest of humanity, and witness the current historic moment in which many of us act in support of the defense of universal rights, for which we must maintain and strengthen the ties that unite us in this purpose.
"Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
These were the exceptional words quoted by Dr. Stella Coiffman after an outstanding exposition of historic events she presented with Rabbi Alfredo Goldschmidt and Dr. Jorge Alberto Mejia, rector of the College. In reference to the Holocaust as a historic, social and more importantly, a moral imperative of humanity, Dr. Mejia expressed:
"This project is none other than the implementation of this fundamental mandate."
Dr. Mejia also emphasized the importance of involving youth, stating:
"May the Shoah remind us how far racism and intolerance can reach; consequently, as educators and parents, we must understand that events like these are meaningless if we do not instill in our youth a profound respect for cultural, religious, racial and social differences."
College student Joey Sasson described his experience personally visiting the Auschwitz, Treblinka and Majdanek concentration camps in Poland with his classmates. He said the following about the Halstuch family plaque:
"With their hands engraved in this plaque, they demand the truth, and quiet the fear of silence and indifference of all the societies that have consented to violence, including the Colombian society."
"A country that was born and rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, a country whose existence is the only guarantee we have nowadays that another Holocaust will not occur…"
these were the opening words of the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, Mr. Yoed Magen, who also stressed that
"it is crucial to teach and educate new generations so that they are aware of how devastating hatred, racism and fanaticism can be."
Recalling other genocides such as the genocide in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis, Archbishop Aldo Cavalli commented:
"When we live, act and take responsibility, we truly remember. Why? Because we put ourselves in that situation: victim, perpetrator, passive witness. I put myself in that situation in order to act upon what I live. I act and I take responsibility."
In closing, Dr. Soto made reference to Holocaust denial, deeming it offensive to the victims and survivors. He also stressed the need to continue telling history and not remain silent again. In his message directed to the youth, he added:
"Be proud of your past, your race, your history, and strive to make your nation a greater people every day."