The 27th of January has been established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date is related to the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau concentration and death camp by the “Red Army”, on January 27.
The “Holocaust” was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators. Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
Europe’s Jews were the main victims of the Holocaust through what the Nazis called the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” The number of victims of the Jewish population is usually estimated at six million, although formal estimates by historians range from five million to over six million. Apart from the Jews, about 220,000 Roma and Sinti were killed in the Holocaust (some estimates reach as high as 800,000), or 25-50% of their European population.
Other groups deemed “racially inferior” or “undesirable” were the following: Soviet soldiers and civilians in occupied territories – including Russians and other Slavs, Polish non-Jews, 3 million Polish Jews or 2 million Jewish and 2 million Jewish; physically handicapped, homosexual, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Libertarians, Communists, and other political dissidents, trade unionists, artists, and some Catholic and Protestant clergy who were persecuted or killed.
If the above population groups are also taken into account, the number of victims increases significantly. Some estimates put the total number of Holocaust victims at 26 million, but 9 to 11 million victims are usually considered the most reliable estimate.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights is raising awareness over the increase of antisemitism in Europe. FRA has conducted some very important surveys mapping the experiences and perceptions of antisemitism. An interesting is published on December 2018.
The Article 21 in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, recognizes the person’s right to live without any discrimination, in particular on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, social origin, religion or belief, political opinion or any other opinion.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day reminds us of the moment when man lost his humanity. The moment when man humiliated human nature. It is our duty to never allow such a shame on human history ever again.
For that we need to remain informed and aware.