The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked today.
The day of Holocaust memory was proposed at the United Nations by Israel in 2005. In addition to encouraging education about the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, the authors of Resolution 60/7 sought to push back against denial of the genocide.
January 27 was chosen because on that date in 1945, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews from all over Europe were murdered during World War II, The Times of Israel writes.
Since the first commemoration in 2005, the United Nations has given each International Holocaust Remembrance Day an educational theme. Past frameworks include the plight of children in the Shoah, the persecution of Roma and Sinti victims, and the Nazi regime’s efforts to murder individuals with physical or mental disabilities.
This year, the theme of “shared responsibility” for remembering the genocide was chosen to frame activities, including a focus on gathering accounts from “the last survivors.”
Last Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened an exhibition on the genocide as it unfolded in Soviet territories, including what has been called “the Holocaust by bullets.”
In Israel, the Holocaust is officially commemorated on an entirely different day, Yom HaShoah, an observance timed to the Hebrew calendar day marking the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in the spring of 1943. That annual day of mourning first took place in 1951, and was tied to the new state’s desire to project the kind of strength exhibited by Jewish resistance in Warsaw and other ghettos.
However, following the lead of the United Kingdom in 2001, many countries selected January 27 as their official day of Holocaust remembrance.
On social media, the largest Shoah memory campaign is #WeRemember, initiated by World Jewish Congress last year. Thousands of people around the world are being photographed holding #WeRemember signs, from university students to Europe’s top football clubs.
Organizers hope to reach 500 million people through “the world’s largest Holocaust remembrance event.” Similar to last year, all #WeRemember photos will be live-projected on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau later this week.