The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) observes January 27, 2023, as the 18th International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. This year marks the 78th 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 theme of the 2023 International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is “Home and Belonging,” and it is dedicated to exploring how the concept of “home” and “belonging” changed as persecuted groups faced the violent, antisemitic onslaught during the Holocaust. When the Nazi Party took power in Germany in 1933, it encouraged hatred against Jews, Roma, migrants, LGBTQIA+, and other groups through propaganda campaigns, including disinformation and hate of speech, with deadly consequences that foreshadowed the genocide. Gradually these groups no longer belonged in the countries they called home.
This year’s theme also reflects on the impact the Nazi ideology had on society and how it affected the identity of the survivors, especially in the immediate post-war years. Remembering and honoring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as the vital contributions made by survivors, is essential for Holocaust education and combating antisemitism and other identity-based discrimination, especially amidst rising levels of disinformation and hate speech around the world.
The theme of the 2023 observance is reflected throughout the Auschwitz Institute’s work and programs, which recognize the importance of preventing identity-based violence and the efforts to foster resiliency by dealing with the long-term consequences of mass atrocities. This theme is part of the Raphael Lemkin Seminar series curriculum, representing the Auschwitz Institute’s longest-running program and one of the main pillars of AIPG’s work.
The Lemkin Seminar series welcomes government officials from around the world to join AIPG’s expert instructors and other atrocity prevention experts on the grounds of the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. After operating in a virtual format since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AIPG will again be welcoming back participants to Poland for this powerful in-person experience.
As Dr. James Waller, Director of Academic Programs at AIPG, says:
The world has changed considerably over the past few years of the pandemic. What has remained urgent, however, is the need for impactful atrocity prevention training. The heart of that work is relational, and being able to return to our cornerstone in-person programming at Auschwitz-Birkenau is essential.
The Lemkin Seminar aims to connect the powerful lessons of the Holocaust and other mass atrocities with the development and implementation of policies and practices that protect populations. Through the seminar, AIPG continues to create a community of policymakers educated in the latest genocide prevention policy strategies, supporting each other in identifying best practices for preventing and dealing with atrocity crimes, especially in places of high risk.