International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust 2017

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 2 million Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust.

On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.

Prior to the 60/7 resolution, there had been national days of commemoration, such as Germany's Tag des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (The Day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism), established in a proclamation issued by Federal President Roman Herzog on 3 January 1996; and the Holocaust memorial day observed every 27 January since 2001 in the UK.

The General Assembly Resolution 60/7

Resolution 60/7 establishing 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief. It also calls for actively preserving the Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration camps, forced labor camps and prisons, as well as for establishing a U.N. programme of outreach and mobilization of society for Holocaust remembrance and education.

Resolution 60/7 and the International Holocaust Day was an initiative of the State of Israel. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, Silvan Shalom, was the head of the delegation of Israel to the United Nations.

The essence of the text lies in its twofold approach: one that deals with the memory and remembrance of those who were massacred during the Holocaust, and the other with educating future generations of its horrors.

The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights. [...]

We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands.


UNESCO is presenting exhibitions illustrating the specific “rescue” dimension of Holocaust history. Two exhibits will be dedicated respectively to the particular cases of Bulgaria and of Denmark, in which important parts of the society reacted to protect the Jewish population from deportations. Another exhibition, especially prepared for this occasion by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, presents video testimonies of survivors who were rescued during the Holocaust.

A special ceremony on 28 January will feature prominent personalities, such as French Minister of Education Vincent Peillon and lawyer, historian and Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfled.

President of Bulgaria Rossen Plevneliev is guest of honour of this special day and will speak during the ceremony.

The Organization and the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide are also organizing a high-level panel discussion on Holocaust Education and the Prevention of Genocide, with the support of the Kingdom of Belgium. The conference will take place at UNESCO headquarters on 28 January. Holocaust and genocide scholars will discuss the challenges ahead to better develop education about the Holocaust and mainstream the prevention of genocide. United Nations Under-Secretary General Mr Adama Dieng will participate in this public event and highlight the importance of raising awareness among young people and policy-makers about the danger that genocide still represents today.

In addition, UNESCO will hold a videoconference in partnership with the Shoah Memorial on 21 January with journalists and other media professionals gathered in the field offices of Bujumbura, Dakar, Kinshasa, Libreville and Yaoundé. The discussion will be introduced by Mr Yves Ternon, genocide scholar, and will include a testimony of Ms Ginette Kolinka, Holocaust survivor.

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