27th of January: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27 Jan, 2021

Every 27th of January, the world pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms the unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, antigypsyism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence.

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, ERGO Network, ILGA Europe, Victim Support Europe (VSE) and the European Disability Forum (EDF) call on national governments and inter-governmental organisations to ensure the safety of all minorities who are targets for Europe’s extremists.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day reminds us of the millions of Roma, Jewish, lesbians, gays, intersex and transgender people, persons with disabilities, political opponents, Jehovah witnesses and other victims of the Holocaust. It is also a poignant date in the calendar to celebrate the lives of those who survived.

Simply remembering the Holocaust is no longer enough. States must ensure the protection of human rights and the security of citizens, regardless of their race or ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Laws must be applied and enforced to prevent of the proliferation of racist and extremist ideologies which threaten harm to others.

The Holocaust took place because governments, institutions and civil society remained passive as prejudice, discrimination and hate flourished. Today is reminder to us all that the mistakes of the past should not be repeated.

Why is it celebrated every 27th of January?

On 1 November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly approved the designation of 27 January as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The United Nations chose 27 January because it was on 27 January 1945 that the Soviet Army liberated the prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The purpose of setting this date is to ensure that Member States develop educational programmes to show future generations the historical reality of the deplorable and repudiatory events of the Holocaust, in order to prevent future acts of genocide.