International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust Date in the current year: January 27, 2024

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, also known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day that was established by the UN General Assembly in 2005. Held annually on January 27, this day of remembrance commemorates the victims of the Holocaust.

During the Second World War, Nazis and their collaborators targeted and methodically murdered Jews, who are now considered the main victims of the genocide known as the Holocaust. Approximately six million Jewish people were killed in ghettos and concentration camps during the war. Other victims of the Nazi regime include Slavs, Romani people, Soviet prisoners of war, physically and mentally disabled people, communists, and homosexuals.

Although the extermination itself took place between 1941 and 1945, Jews became the target of the persecution much earlier. In 1935, the government of the Third Reich passed the Nuremberg Laws that stripped Jews (and later also Romani people) of their citizenship and civil rights. The adoption of the laws was followed by a series of pogroms, the most notorious being the 1938 Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht).

Before and during World War II, Nazi Germany maintained numerous concentration and extermination camps throughout the territories it occupied and controlled. The first concentration camp, Dachau, was located in Germany. It was opened in 1933 to hold political prisoners.

Most concentration camps that opened after the beginning of the Second World War were located in the occupied countries. Concentration camps were intended to hold prisoners and use them as forced labor, while extermination camps were designed to systematically kill millions of people whom the Nazis considered “subhumans”. Most of the largest extermination camps were located in Poland. They included Auschwitz–Birkenau, Treblinka, Bełżec, Chełmno, Sobibór, and Majdanek.

Auschwitz was one of the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Located near the Polish town of Oświęcim, it consisted of several parts, including the original concentration camp Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a combined concentration and extermination camp.

In the course of the war, over 1.1 million people were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz or died of individual executions, forced labor, medical experiments, diseases, and starvation. Around 90% of people who died in Auschwitz were Jews.

Soviet troops liberated the remaining 7,500 inmates of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945. In 2005, the anniversary of the liberation was established as International Holocaust Remembrance Day as stated in the General Assembly resolution 60/7. The resolution rejects any denial of the Holocaust and encourages to educate future generations of its history in order to prevent future acts of genocide.

January 27 is also a national observance in the United Kingdom and Italy. The United Kingdom has been observing Holocaust Memorial Day since 2001. A new host city and theme of the day are chosen every year. Italy has also been observing this remembrance day since 2001 as Memorial Day (Giorno della Memoria).

In Israel, Yom HaShoah is a national memorial day in remembrance of the Holocaust victims. It is held on the 27th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. However, the International Holocaust Remember Days is also observed with ceremonies and educational events.

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day, UN observance, day of remembrance, memorial day, liberation of Auschwitz