Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27 January

Every year around 27 January, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. It was officially proclaimed, in november 2005, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly. 

The Holocaust profoundly affected countries in which Nazi crimes were perpetrated, but also had universal implications and consequences in many other parts of the world. Member States share a collective responsibility for addressing the residual trauma, maintaining effective remembrance policies, caring for historic sites, and promoting education, documentation and research, seven decades after the genocide. This responsibility entails educating about the causes, consequences and dynamics of such crimes so as to strengthen the resilience of young people against ideologies of hatred. As genocide and atrocity crimes keep occurring across several regions, and as we are witnessing a global rise of anti-Semitism and hateful discourses, this has never been so relevant.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

"Seventy-five  years  ago,  the  100th  and  322nd  divisions  of  the  Soviet  Army’s “1st Ukrainian  Front”  reached  the  Nazi  concentration  and  extermination  camp  of  Auschwitz-Birkenau,  whose  very  name  symbolizes  the  barbarism  of  the  killing  centres and concentration camps. (...) In the name of a racist and anti -Semitic ideology, people of all ages were deemed unworthy of living and were systematically murdered on a continental  scale. (…) It is thus our duty to fight against speeches, wherever they are made, that seek to deny the existence of the Holocaust, that minimize its scale, or that attempt to absolve the murderers and their accomplices of their crimes. (...) It is precisely the role of UNESCO to make every effort to improve public awareness, strengthen intellectual defences, in a word, educate – because people are not born anti-Semitic, people are not born racist, they become so."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

2020 COMMEMORATIONS

In 2020, UNESCO will organize a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Events will include an academic conference and commemoration ceremony on 22 January 2020 at UNESCO Headquarters as well as exhibitions in Paris and UNESCO Field Office around the world.

Exhibitions

Two exhibitions will be displayed at UNESCO Headquarters from 22 January until 5 February and will also be on display at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Seeing Auschwitz

Seeing Auschwitz

The primary focus of this exhibit is on archival images of Auschwitz, what they reveal about their creators’ perspectives, and how this can influence how we “imagine” and understand Auschwitz today. Through the photos, visitors will explore different ways of “Seeing Auschwitz,” revealing myriad perspectives and multi-dimensional ways of thinking about the space, its history, and meaning-making today. This exhibition was conceived by Musealia in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

Crimes uncovered)

Crimes Uncovered: The First Generation of Holocaust Researchers

This exhibition will present the real-life stories of a number of Jewish historians and academics who resisted the Germans and their collaborators by documenting events and safeguarding evidence of the actions taken against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. The exhibition was developed by the Wiener Library, the House of the Wannsee Conference and the Touro College, Berlin.

#WeRemember campaign

PARTNERS

The 2020 commemoration is organized in cooperation with

with the support of the Permanent Delegation of Austria to UNESCO, the Permanent Delegation of France to UNESCO, the Permanent Delegation of Germany to UNESCO, the Permanent Delegation of Monaco to UNESCO, the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO and the Austrian ZukunftsfondsThe World Jewish Congress is a communication partner through the #WeRemember social media campaign.

RESOURCES

Past Commemorations