Brazil’s Bolsonaro says Holocaust crimes can be forgiven

Brazil’s Bolsonaro says Holocaust crimes can be forgiven
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during inauguration ceremony of the new Education Minister Abraham Weintraub at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil April 9, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 April 2019

Brazil’s Bolsonaro says Holocaust crimes can be forgiven

Brazil’s Bolsonaro says Holocaust crimes can be forgiven
  • Bolsonaro has ups and downs in his relationship with Brazil’s Jewish community

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro believes the crimes of the Holocaust can be forgiven, but shouldn’t be forgotten.
The far-right leader made the comments Thursday night at a meeting with evangelical pastors in Rio de Janeiro. He was applauded by those who attended.
“We can forgive, but we cannot forget. That quote is mine. Those who forget their past are sentenced not to have a future,” Bolsonaro said, adding that actions are needed for the Holocaust not to be repeated.
On April 2, Bolsonaro visited the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During that visit, the Brazilian leader labelled Nazism a leftist ideology, a claim rejected by historians.
More than 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust.
Bolsonaro has ups and downs in his relationship with Brazil’s Jewish community.
In 1998, as federal deputy in Brazil’s Congress, he defended students at a military school in the southern city of Porto Alegre who voted for Adolf Hitler, among other figures, as the historic character they admired the most.
“They have to choose those who knew, in one way or another, how to impose order and discipline,” Bolsonaro said at the time, adding that he did not agree with the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.
Official figures estimate the number of Jews in the South American country in about 120,000, corresponding to 0.06% of the population.