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International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Remembrance is the First Step

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2015 | USCIRF

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day the United Nations has designated to annually commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.  January 27 also is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the notorious Nazi death camp. 

“We must remember the horror of the Holocaust and honor the memory of millions of Jews whom the Nazis and their sympathizers slaughtered.  However, remembering and honoring the victims, while vitally important, is not enough.  We also must take action, unequivocally condemning attacks against Jews whenever and wherever they occur.  We must make certain that governments hold accountable perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts, and rededicate ourselves to ensuring that such hatred, bigotry, racism, and prejudice is eliminated.  We have our work cut out for ourselves, as the murder of four Jews in the kosher supermarket as part of the recent terrorist attack in Paris sadly underscores,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, USCIRF Chair.

Despite the staggering losses and horrifying lessons of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism today has increased in many parts of the world and has taken on an alarming number of forms, including blood libel and conspiracy theories; Holocaust denial, glorification and relativism; nationalism that condemns the “other;” and criticism of Israel that crosses the line to anti-Semitism.  In too many countries, governments fuel anti-Semitism, incite anti-Semitic acts, or do nothing in the face of such acts, with such actions serving as a warning sign of malignant forces that threaten civil society and freedom.  

“Seven decades after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is again on the move.  It is a global menace, a grave threat to Jews around the world, and a challenge to the basic humanitarian values of liberty, pluralism, and tolerance.  Civil society, along with governments, has an indispensable role to play in combatting anti-Semitism in all its forms, whenever and wherever it takes place.  Individually and as a nation, we must commit ourselves to closing the gap between the promise and practice of “never again,” said USCIRF Commissioner Hannah Rosenthal.   

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or 202-786-0613.