Auschwitz Liberation Day in the Netherlands Date in the current year: January 28, 2018

Auschwitz Liberation Day in the Netherlands On January 27, many countries around the world observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day that commemorates the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. Besides, some countries have their own national remembrance days. For example, Auschwitz Liberation Day in the Netherlands is observed on the last Sunday of January.

A remembrance ceremony dedicated to the liberation of Auschwitz was first held in Poland in 1952 (the Auschwitz concentration camp was located in the Polish town of Oświęcim). Three years later, former Auschwitz prisoners from the Netherlands established the Netherlands Auschwitz Committee to combat Nazism, racism and antisemitism, as well as to promote the well-being of those who were persecuted during the Second World War.

Auschwitz Liberation Day (Auschwitzherdenking) was inaugurated by the Committee in 1993 and has been held annually since. It is held at the Auschwitz Memorial in Amsterdam’s Wertheimpark. The monument was created by the well-known Dutch sculptor, painter and author Jan Wolkers.

The Auschwitz Liberation Day ceremony begins with a silent procession that marches from the Amsterdam town hall to the Auschwitz Memorial in Wertheimpark. The mayor of Amsterdam delivers a solemn speech, and then the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam recites the memorial prayers, Yizkor and Kaddish. During the ceremony, tribute is also paid to Romanis and Sintis who were killed in Auschwitz alongside Jews. The speeches and prayers are followed by the laying of wreaths and flowers.

Unlike Remembrance of the Dead, Auschwitz Liberation Day is not an official memorial day in the Netherlands, although the Netherlands Auschwitz Committee has been struggling to have it recognized officially for years.

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