Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day: Mark 70 years since Auschwitz Birkenau

Circular wall of millions of old photos and written info beneath some

The Hall of Names commemorating the millions of Jews killed during the Holocaust, as part of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

TUESDAY, JANUARY 27: Seventy years to the day of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, members of the United Nations collectively bow their heads for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. After the horrors of the Holocaust, nations came together in 1945 to form what would become the United Nations—this year, celebrating its 70th anniversary, in October. (Learn more from UN.org.) Ten years ago, the General Assembly adopted a resolution that officially declared January 27 as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

Did you know? Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi death camp. Soviet troops liberated the camp in 1945.

Member states of the UN have developed educational programs, conducted memorial ceremonies and instituted remembrances throughout the past decade. Short videos have been produced and released in 2015 in commemoration of the significant anniversaries, and are available in six languages through the UN.


Each year on January 27, the world remembers the Nazi regime’s genocide that led to the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 1 million Roma, 250,000 physically disabled persons and 9,000 homosexual men. Designated by the United Nations in November 2005, the resolution encourages each member nation to pay homage. (Wikipedia has details.) This year, nations observe the theme “Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors.”

The three goals of United Nations Holocaust programs: Ongoing programs aim for a trifold purpose—to reject any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event; to condemn all manifestations of religious intolerance, violence and incitement against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief; and to prevent future acts of genocide.


This year, Turkey will hold its first ceremony for the International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust, with representatives from the UN and speakers from the Jewish Turkish community. (Read more from the Times of Israel.) Among Holocaust victims, light is being shone this year on the Roma people—that is, Romani, or the people who often have been called “gypsies”—as an ethnicity still persecuted, especially in eastern Europe. Battling ongoing prejudices and stereotypes, many Roma still experience hardships in society, while their ancestors are vastly underrepresented in Holocaust remembrance memorials. Learn more about modern Roma—and how to help—reported in a recent article at JNS.org.

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