Remembering History on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th


Seventeen years ago in 2005, January 27th was designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the UN, as a way to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust on the anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It also serves as an opportunity to educate future generations to help prevent further genocide.

The formal UN resolution commemorating the day condemns holocaust denialism and all forms of “religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief."

Eighty years since the beginning of the Holocaust, violent antisemitism is still a threat across the world and in the US, as evidenced by a Texas synagogue this month.  In connection with increasing violence is holocaust denialism, which has increased in both the US and abroad in recent years leading the US and Germany to launch an initiative to combat holocaust denial.  A recent study of young people in the US revealed a shocking level of ignorance surrounding the holocaust, with over half of respondents under 40 unsure about basic holocaust facts.

And there are additional acts of antisemitism seen in US communities, that while nonviolent, can still be discriminatory. These can include attempts to block the building or expansion of temples through zoning laws or other discriminatory actions that break federal law.

At a time of rising antisemitism and division in the US, it is important to remember the lessons of the Holocaust and pay tribute to its victims, while also remaining vigilant in our own communities to prevent future acts of discrimination.

To learn more visit the International Holocaust Remembrance Day online resources here.

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