International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27, 2019

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 8.7 million Slavs, 1.8 million ethnic Poles, 220,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, 312,000 Serb civilians, 1,900 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 70,000 (includes political dissidents and homosexual men), by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army. Former prisoners of Auschwitz, politicians and dignitaries gathered at the former Nazi concentration camp on the 74 th anniversary of its liberation by Soviet forces on this January 27, 2019.

Survivors gave testimonies and Poland’s chief Rabbi read out the names of all the concentration camps, where many of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust were killed. Over a million people were killed in Auschwitz alone, most of them Jews. Poland’s prime minister and the ambassadors of Israel and Russia also attended the ceremony. “People growing up today must know what people were capable of in the past”; German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly video address. “And we must work proactively
to ensure that it is never repeated.”;

President Trump added to the chorus of voices decrying the Holocaust on Sunday. “To remember these men and women — those who perished and those who survived — is to strive to prevent such suffering from happening again,”; he wrote in a statement. “Any denial or indifference to the horror of this chapter in the history of humankind diminishes all men and women everywhere and invites repetition of this great evil.”;

This year’s anniversary comes amid growing concern among survivors and world leaders alike that the Holocaust has begun to slip from international, collective memory — particularly among younger generations. In remarks both before and on the day of the anniversary, leaders also lamented recent spikes in hate-inspired violence.

According to a poll released Sunday by The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, five percent ofadults in the United Kingdom don’t believe the Holocaust happened, and 64 percent either don’t know the number of Jews murdered or underestimate that number.

Our culture of remembrance is crumbling, according to some, but these memorial days make sure such tragedies don’t fade from human memory.

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