Jan. 27: International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

On this day in 1945, Soviet troops liberated more than 7,000 people from the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On Jan. 27 of each year, the world pays tribute to the memory of Holocaust victims. The date is intended to remember those who perished in concentration camps and the more than six million Jewish men, women and children who suffered the tragedy of persecution and extermination by the Nazi regime.

On Jan. 27, 1945, at the end of World War II, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, located near Krakow, Poland. This was one of the largest death camps of the time. More than 7,000 people were rescued.

International day of remembrance proclaimed by the U.N.

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust was proclaimed by the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly in 2005:

The Holocaust profoundly affected countries in which Nazi crimes were perpetrated, with 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, more than 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 antisemitism and hate speech, this has never been so relevant.

The Holocaust

The Holocaust was one of the largest genocides in human history. Between 1933 and 1945, a new and developed Nazi regime in Germany committed an unprecedented act of persecution and violation of human rights. Even though the greatest number of victims were part of the Jewish community, it is estimated that approximately 11 million people in total were killed by the Nazis, including Jews, Gypsies and other ethnic, social and ideological groups.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres sent an official message to the people, where he pointed out the need for humanity's commitment to "never be indifferent to the suffering of others and never forget what happened." He also called to defend "human rights and dignity for all."