International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A group of deceased Jewish people
Photograph by UNESCO

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Every year around 27 January, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence.

The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. It was officially proclaimed, in November 2005, International Day (link is external)of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly. 

Photograph by Andrea Nardi

The Holocaust profoundly affected countries in which Nazi crimes were perpetrated, but also had universal implications and consequences in many other parts of the world. Member States share a collective responsibility for addressing the residual trauma, maintaining effective remembrance policies, caring for historic sites, and promoting education, documentation and research, seven decades after the genocide.

This responsibility entails educating about the causes, consequences and dynamics of such crimes so as to strengthen the resilience of young people against ideologies of hatred. As genocide and atrocity crimes keep occurring across several regions, and as we are witnessing a global rise of anti-Semitism and hateful discourses, this has never been so relevant.

A group of deceased Jewish people
Photograph by UNESCO

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

“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 happening.” —
 Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
Woman standing near person in wheelchair near green grass field
Photograph by Josh Appel

2021 COMMEMORATIONS

For the first time, the United Nations and UNESCO will jointly organize a series of events, in partnership with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, to mark the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Due to restrictions put in place because of COVID-19, and to reach global audiences, the events will be entirely online. Events will include a commemoration ceremony on 27 January 2021 and a panel discussion on Holocaust denial and distortion, broadcast by UNTV and CNN, in addition to exhibitions in Paris and UNESCO Field Offices around the world.

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