Commemoration in Memory of Holocaust Victims

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27-Jan-2021 02:03:16
The Holocaust memorial ceremony is organized jointly by the United Nations Department of Global Communications and UNESCO, in partnership with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The online commemoration was followed by a panel discussion on Holocaust denial and distortion, with contributions of diverse experts in the field.

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The world must stand with the “utmost determination against antisemitism”, the Chancellor of German told the UN’s annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony on Wednesday.

“We honour the victims of the Holocaust by remembering them and by learning from their plight. That is our everlasting responsibility – for today’s and future generations”, she stated, in her video message to the powerful online event, translated from German.

On 27 January 1945, exactly 76 years ago, the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.

“What happened there and in many other places where atrocities were committed during the National Socialist period, is and remains beyond belief”, Ms. Merkel said.

She expressed deep shame over the catastrophic killing of millions of European Jews by Nazi Germany - known in Hebrew as the Shoah - and of “the betrayal of all civilized values, perpetrated under the National Socialist regime”.

Noting that antisemitism found its most horrific expression in the Holocaust, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the “universal revulsion at this crime” was one event leading to the UN’s founding and drawing up of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“But it did not end”, he said. “Indeed, today antisemitism is resurgent in many places around the world”.

As the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes every year, white supremacists and neo-Nazis intensify their efforts to deny, distort and rewrite history including the Holocaust, the UN chief observed.

In Europe, the United States and elsewhere, “white supremacists are organizing and recruiting across borders, shamelessly flaunting the symbols of the Nazis and their murderous ambitions”, he said.

“We saw shocking examples in this nation’s capital in recent weeks”, Mr. Guterres attested, referring to the breach of the US Capitol building in Washington DC by violent extremists on 6 January, where some were caught on camera wearing Nazi symbols, including tributes to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Reminding viewers and participants how the Holocaust has “forever shaken the foundations of our common humanity”, UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay recounted that when the Soviet soldiers liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, they found some seven thousand emaciated detainees, many of whom perished in the following days.

In addition to the corpses, executed after the Nazis forced prisoners to take part in a “death march”, she said that along with the remaining gas chambers, they also discovered traces of the Nazis’ “merciless system”.

“Today, as hateful voices continue to rise, denying or distorting the implacable reality of these facts, we have a universal responsibility to remember each and every individual whom the Nazis sought to erase from the face of the earth”, the UNESCO chief said.

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Outreach Programme on the Holocaust
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