International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed every year On January 27. A resolution to introduce the Remembrance Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 1 November 2005 on the initiative of Israel, Canada, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and the United States; more than 90 countries were the co-authors.
For the first time, the term Holocaust – derived from the ancient Greek holocaustosis, meaning “burnt offering”, was used by future Nobel Peace Prize winner the writer Elie Wiesel as a symbol of gas chambers and crematoriums of extermination camps. After the world premiere in 1978 of the American television series of the same title, the term “Holocaust” was actively used to refer to museums, memorials and educational centres. In Israel and some other countries, the term Shoax is also used, meaning “The Holocaust of European Jewry.”
The date of the Remembrance Day was chosen to coincide with the day when the Soviet army liberated the largest Nazi death camp Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. According to various estimates, from 1.5 to 4 million people were killed in the camp. The exact number of those killed in Auschwitz was never found, since many documents were destroyed, and the Nazi did not keep a record of the victims sent to the gas chambers immediately upon arrival. According to the documents of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 2.8 million people died, 90 percent of them were Jews. According to the latest estimates of historians, the total number of deaths in Auschwitz was about 1.5 million people, of whom 85 percent were Jews (1.275 million people).
With a view to secure the historical truth about the events of the Second World War, the key role of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition in the victory over fascism, and also to preserve the memory of the tragedy of Holocaust, a series of high-level events called the World Holocaust Forum (International Forum “Life to My People!”) is held.
The first World Holocaust Forum was held on January 27, 2005, in Krakow (Poland) and was dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Vice President Richard Cheney, Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski and many others, more than 30 official delegations and heads of state, took part in it.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is not only an expression of respect for those who survived and a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, but it is also a call to action. It gives Member States the opportunity to continue the fight against anti-Semitism and racism and to develop educational programs that will prevent the recurrence of such atrocities in the future. Education plays a vital role in building the capacity to counter such crimes. In particular, it helps to shape a “culture of prevention”, get rid of prejudice, promote peaceful coexistence and human rights, and promote respect for all peoples.