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September 16 2014 | OSWIECIM, POLAND

IV International Meeting "For a world without violence"

Young people from Central - Eastern Europe in Auschwitz with Sant'Egidio to say no to violence and war

From 18 to 20 September, mobilization of peace of a thousand young people in the place symbol of the horror of war, anti-Semitism and racism. With their witnesses of the Shoah and the Porrajmos. More than 300 come from Russia and Ukraine

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From 18 to 20 September 2014, the Fourth Edition of the International Meeting "Young Europeans for a world without violence", promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio, will be held in Auschwitz-Krakow. The meeting will be attended by 1,000 young people from the Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary.

The Community of Sant'Egidio (www.santegidio.org), an international association spread in seventy-five countries around the world with more than 60,000 members, has been rooted for more than twenty years in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the youth , with activities of solidarity with the weaker sections of the population (homeless persons, elderly people living alone, children in institutions, Roma) and cultural and civil initiatives aimed at promoting the formation of a culture of solidarity, living together and dialogue.

In 2008, 2010 and 2012, there were the previous editions, which were attended by thousands of young people of Central and Eastern Europe. The memory of the horror of World War II, the abyss of the Shoah and the Porrajmos (the extermination of Roma and Sinti), was a decisive reference to counteract the manifestations of anti-Semitism, anti-gypsism, xenophobia and racism still common in European societies. It is an urgency not only across Europe, but globally. Sant'Egidio has carried out an active job of sensitization and training of young people in Central and Eastern Europe with the organization of conferences, seminars and courses of lectures in schools and universities, public events, on issues of anti-Semitism, anti-gypsism, racial discrimination to promote a culture of coexistence between different peole, critical challenge for the future of societies at European and global level.

This year's meeting is marked by the urgency of peace in a world that is dotted with fires of war, even in Europe with the conflict in the eastern regions of Ukraine. It takes place a hundred years after the First World War, when millions of young Europeans were mobilized to go and fight. The influx of young Europeans in Auschwitz is a mobilization for peace. The event is a continuation of the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio, which has just ended in Antwerp with the participation of more than 300 religious leaders, politicians, intellectuals and humanists and of thousands of young people from all over the world. The young people invited by Sant'Egidio will search, in the memory of World War II, the Holocaust and the Porrajmos, the reasons for a future of peace in a Europe hit by the war. Among them also young people from Ukraine and Russia united by the common desire and the common pursuit of peace.

The meeting of Auschwitz-Krakow is the result of extensive preparatory work in the schools and universities of the countries involved during the school / academic year 2013-2014. Through lectures, seminars, meetings with witnesses, film screenings have been reached about 30,000 young people (6,000 of them in Ukraine), in higher schools and universities on a number of cities, including Bratislava, Brno, Bucharest, Budapest, Chmelnickij, Gyor, IvanoFrankivsk, Krasnoyarsk, Lviv, Kiev, Moscow, Pecs, Prague, Rome, Saint Petersburg, Satu Mare, Szczecin, Warsaw.

The programme of the IV International Meeting provides for the intervention of some witnesses of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jewish people and against the Roma and Sinti during the Second World War, who will speak to young people in two meetings in Krakow on Thursday 18 September:

- Rita Prigmore, a Sinti woman of Würzburg (Germany), a victim of Nazi medical experiments;

- Mordechai Peled, a jew originally from Romania that urvived the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On Friday 19 September, after having visited the museum of the Auschwitz camp, the youth will make a ceremony in the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau where, after a silent march, will lay wreaths of flowers at the memorial monument of the victims of the camp and proclaim in different languages the appeal for a world without violence.


During the International Meeting press releases will be sent.

A TV crew will prepare reports (images only) for television news programmes which can be sent to interested broadcasters via the Internet, accompanied by explanations. The TV channels interested in receiving the clips should communicate:

a)      the format and compression preferred - the crew will use "Full HD";

b)     the address of the server to send the video;

c)      an e-mail address and / or phone to notify the sending of the material.

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