Lest We Forget
The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is a time to mourn those who disappeared and to reflect upon the choice of the individuals and governments that allowed this genocide to unfold. It is also a call for vigilance and for action, to address the root causes of hatred and prevent future atrocities from happeningAudrey Azoulay
Director-General of UNESCO
Wikipedia describes Genocide as the intentional action to destroy a people – usually ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. Coining of the word attributed to Raphael Lemkin. geno-cide is a combination of the Greek (genos, “race, people”) and the Latin suffix -caedo (“act of killing”). The word came into usage only after the Second World War. January 27 was designated by UN in 2005 as International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on this day in 1945. For the first time, the UN and UNESCO jointly commemorated a series of events, in partnership with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, marking the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the most notorious camps in Poland near Oswiecim. More than one million people died before Soviet troops liberated it on January 27, 1945. Holocaust survivors and various leaders make their voices heard on this day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Many of them share what they went through, its aftermath and more importantly, why the world should never forget what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
While we talk about the victims of the Holocaust, there are many the world has seen. The darker side of humanity, political and military leadership continues to emerge, and the world has seen similar or even more dreadful events. The name a few: the Cambodian genocide in 1975, the systematic persecution and killing of nearly a quarter of its population by the Khmer Rouge. As recent as 1994, it is the genocide of ethnic communities in Rwanda. During 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group and some moderate Hutu have been slaughtered by armed militias. The deaths were estimated anywhere between 500 to 600 thousand.
We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations standsBan Ki-moon
Importance of observance of days like these is to focus on bringing awareness especially to the youth of present with the lessons of the Holocaust so that future generations may work to prevent recurring of such events.