The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) observes January 27, 2019 as the 14th International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945, the United Nations General Assembly established this annual International Day in November of 2005 through General Assembly Resolution 60/7.
The 2019 International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is titled “Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights,” emphasizes the importance of the lessons of the Holocaust at this critical moment in global affairs. Highlighting the 70th anniversary of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the theme urges action against the rise of neo-Nazism and hate around the world by fighting discrimination and defending democratic values.
Commemorating the 2018 observance of this date, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres explains:
We must stand together against the normalization of hate.
Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we are all at risk.
All of us have a responsibility to quickly, clearly and decisively resist racism and violence.
Through education and understanding, we can build a future of dignity, human rights and peaceful coexistence for all.
General Assembly Resolution 60/7, which establishes the annual observance on January 27, specifically urges UN member states to cultivate educational programs that pass on the vital lessons learned from the Holocaust to younger generations of our international community. Alongside the continuing fight against denialism, these lessons form an essential component of broader efforts to prevent future genocide. This is reflected in the emphasis placed on education within the Auschwitz Institute’s approach and its methodology for engagement with government officials, teachers, and other key actors around the world.
AIPR’s longest running program, the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention, is held on the grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Oświęcim, Poland. Organized in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the UN’s Joint Office of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, the Raphael Lemkin Seminar employs the “power of place” that exists at the former Nazi facility Auschwitz-Birkenau to teach officials about genocide and other mass atrocities, train them in the latest policies and practices for effective prevention, and help them to forge a personal commitment to the prevention genocide.