updated 1/26/2005 11:57:59 AM ET 2005-01-26T16:57:59

In a speech marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday that the world “didn’t lift a finger” to stop the Holocaust.

Sharon said Jews learned a lesson from the genocide that they can only rely on themselves.

In unusually harsh remarks to parliament, Sharon noted that when the Nazis began deporting Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz in large numbers in 1944, Allied forces did not bomb the railroad tracks leading to the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Sharon said that over a period of several weeks, more than 600,000 Jews from Hungary were killed in Auschwitz.

“The sad and terrible conclusion is that no one cared that Jews were being killed,” Sharon said.

“At the time of the most terrible test, friends and benefactors didn’t lift a finger,” he said. “This is the Jewish lesson of the Holocaust.”

“The state of Israel has learned this lesson, and since its founding, it has defended itself and its residents, and provides safety to Jews everywhere. We know that we can only rely on ourselves,” he said.

For this reason, Israel as the Jewish state must always remain strong, Sharon said.

“We must always remember that this is the only place in the world in which we, the Jews, have the right and the power to defend ourselves with our own strength,” Sharon said. “This we will never surrender.”

Even 60 years after Auschwitz was liberated, anti-Semitism still exists throughout the world, Sharon said.

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