Today (27 January), 70 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, thousands of events throughout the world will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. The initiative to establish an international Holocaust remembrance day came from the Israeli delegation to the United Nations, which adopted it in an official UN resolution in 2005. Many of the events planned in cooperation with various UN institutions this year will revolve around two significant dates: the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and a decade since the UN resolution.
The main event will be held at the United Nations in the presence of UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon, President of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin, and Chairman of Yad Vashem Mr. Avner Shalev. There will also be an official ceremony in Prague and Terezin, attended by many world leaders; Israel will be represented by Knesset Speaker Mr. Yuli Edelstein. The ceremony will be accompanied by an important international conference on combating antisemitism.
At the central ceremony commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, thousands of people are expected to attend, among them Holocaust survivors, heads of state and European royalty. A ceremony will be held in Wroclaw to return academic degrees that the Germans took during World War II.
Around the world, thousands of events will take place in more than 100 states and international organizations, from New Zealand and Japan in the East; Myanmar, India and Vietnam in Asia; Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal in Africa; Russia; Europe; and New York, Peru and Argentina on the American continents.
Israeli missions, in the presence of leading figures in local governments, parliaments, academic institutions and cultural centers, will hold hundreds of events to mark this day of Holocaust remembrance. These include state ceremonies; meetings with Holocaust survivors; concerts in which music composed by Jews murdered in the Holocaust will be performed; exhibitions on the Holocaust in cultural, educational and governmental institutions; lectures and activities in schools and universities; screenings of films dealing with the Holocaust and with the second generation of survivors, and more.
In all of these events, emphasis is placed on transmitting Holocaust remembrance to the younger generation – school children and university students – whether by lectures or lessons to be given by the staff at the Israeli embassies or by holding round-table discussions and symposiums.
Gideon Behar, Director of the Department for Combating Antisemitism in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “The Foreign Ministry believes in the importance of perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust, in the face of a growing trend of Holocaust denial. This is a national mission of the State of Israel, and all of the embassies and consulates work towards preserving and transmitting Holocaust remembrance, with an emphasis on ongoing education activities.”