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International Holocaust Memorial Day

The infamous Auschwitz-Berkenau death camp was liberated on Janurary 27, 1945 by the Soviet army.

In honor of this milestone, the United Nations saw it fitting to designate January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 The Holocaust, the largest genocide recorded in modern history, resulted in the systematic murder of approximately six million Jews and five million non-Jews (including Gypsies, Poles, communists, homosexuals, Soviet POWs, and the mentally and physically disabled) at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. The Holocaust wiped out two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, which had once been nine million, cementing itself as a shameful stain upon the fabric history; while World War II (which involved over 30 countries and more than 100 million people) resulted in between 50-85 million casualties and is remembered as the deadliest conflict in human history.

To watch the broadcasted ceremony, copy and past this link to your search bar: http://goo.gl/gSOiIp

 It was in direct response to the widespread devastation caused by World War II that resulted in the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. The UN's main purpose for existence is to promote international cooperation in order to prevent conflicts that may threaten to escalate into another World War.


As evidence of coming into being in the shadow of WWII and its indelible link to the Holocaust, the UN expressly states in its charter its founding principal "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

 As evidence of coming into being in the shadow of WWII and its indelible link to the Holocaust, the UN expressly states in its charter its founding principal "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." Keeping in line with this principal, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 60/7 (an Israeli initiative made by then Foreign Affairs Minister Silvan Shalom) in 2005 to establish January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


 On this day, the UN stands as an example to the nations by rejecting any denial of the Holocaust as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons of communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief. It also calls for actively preserving the Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration camps, forced labor camps and prisons, as well as for establishing a U.N. programme of outreach and mobilization of society for Holocaust remembrance and education to help prevent future genocides.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

 Regarding Holocaust denial, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated, "Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all members of the international community."


 This year, Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev will deliver the keynote address at the United Nations event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The event at the UN General Assembly will take place with the participation of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, survivors and liberators.


"Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people..."

 In addition, Yad Vashem will also be opening two new exhibitions – one to be displayed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the other at the Yad Vashem Museum of Holocaust Art in Jerusalem.


 In Israel, a candle lighting ceremony will be held on January 26 to commemorate the joint International Holocaust Memorial Day and International Day for Countering Anti-Semitism. The event will be broadcasted live from the "Habima Theatre" in Tel Aviv. Additionally, a movie called "2 Barns" will be screen, which proves irrevocably that the Jedwabne incident (pogrom in Poland that resulted in hundreds of Jewish deaths) was not an exception, but rather the rule. Even before the Nazis declared their 'Final Solution', tens of thousands of Jews had been murdered by their neighbors in villages and towns all over Poland, Russia, and Ukraine.

 

 For more information regarding the Holocaust and the UN's Outreach Program click here.

 For more information about lighting a candle in memory of Holocaust victims click here.

 For more information about the Holocaust and stories of individuals click here.

 

 

 Rivki Matan

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