Liberty, Life, and Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors – 70 Years

Photo Credit: UN PHOTO/Evan Schneider: UNSG & wife at Nazi Concentration Camp in Auschwitz

27 January. 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary that allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration/extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The Nazi-introduced concept of “industrialized murder” systematically killed over a million primarily Jewish inmates at Auschwitz and other “undesirables”: Roma, Sinti, homosexuals, disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, political prisoners, and non-Jewish Poles.
The UNSG Ban Ki-moon paid special tribute to the victims on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust . This year both the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the founding of the UN coincide.  “Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors” is this year’s theme for the commemoration and the many cultural activities planned which will include Holocaust survivors, students, and educators mobilized by the Holocaust and UN Outreach Programme. Exhibits, a film screening, speakers including Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, a Holocaust survivor, and a Soviet Army Veteran, Grammy-winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, and the US Military Academy at West Point’s Jewish Chapel Choir will be programme participants.

UN News Centre
Seventy years ago today, allied forces liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, urging renewed vigilance to eradicate the deep roots of hatred as anti-Semitic attacks continue and vulnerable communities around the world bury their dead while living in fear of further violence.

“Unprecedented in human history, this mass killing was motivated by the perverse, race-based ideology of the Nazis, who sought to track down and kill every last Jew and any others they considered to be inferior,” added the Secretary-General.

“Humankind united to overcome the Nazi menace. Today, we are being tested again. Minorities everywhere often face bigotry. Sectarian tensions and other forms of intolerance are on the rise,” Mr. Ban emphasized as he pledged the commitment of the UN to protecting the vulnerable, promoting fundamental human rights and upholding the freedom, dignity and worth of every person.The overall mission of the United Nations was shaped by the tragedy of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the Secretary-General explained. Both the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrine the principles of human rights for all peoples around the world.

“The violence and bias we see every day are stark reminders of the distance still to travel in upholding human rights, preventing genocide and defending our common humanity. We must redouble our efforts to eradicate the deep roots of hatred and intolerance. People everywhere must unite to stop the cycles of discord and build a world of inclusion and mutual respect,” Mr. Ban declared.


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