The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) observes January 27, 2020 as the 15th 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 2020 International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is titled “75 years after Auschwitz – Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice.” This year will also mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, the end of World War II, and the inception of the United Nations. According to the UN, this theme was chosen to “reflect the continued importance, 75 years after the Holocaust, of collective action against antisemitism and other forms of bias to ensure respect for the dignity and human rights of all people everywhere.”
In his remarks commemorating the 2019 observance of the International Day, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres remarked:
Today we honour the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust – and the many other victims of unprecedented, calculated cruelty and horror.
This year’s observance falls amid an alarming increase in anti-Semitism.
From a deadly assault on a synagogue in the United States to the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe, this centuries-old hatred is not only still strong – it is getting worse.
We see the proliferation of neo-Nazi groups, and attempts to rewrite history and distort the facts of the Holocaust.
We see bigotry moving at lightning speed across the Internet.
As the Second World War recedes in time, and the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it falls to us to be ever vigilant.
And as the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, so memorably said: “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews”.
Indeed, we see intolerance entering mainstream politics — targeting minorities, Muslims, migrants and refugees, and exploiting the anger and anxiety of a changing world.
Now more than ever, let us unite in the fight for universal values and build a world of equality for all.
The theme of the 2020 commemorative day, Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice, is reflected throughout the work of the Auschwitz Institute. It is especially apparent in the Raphael Lemkin Seminar series, which represents the Auschwitz Institute’s longest running program. The Lemkin Seminar series invites government officials from around the world to join Auschwitz Institute instructors and other atrocity prevention experts on the grounds of the former extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau for a week-long program that connects the powerful legacy of the Holocaust to the development and implementation of contemporary policies and practices that work to protect populations from the horrors of genocide and other mass atrocities.