27 January: Holocaust Remembrance Day

27 January: Holocaust Remembrance Day

On the morning of 27 January 1945 the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps still held some 7,000 prisoners. Over a million people deported to Auschwitz perished there. It is estimated that six million Jews were exterminated in the death camps.

The Holocaust is regarded as a paradigm for every kind of human rights violation and crime against humanity; all the victims (Jews, Roma, Resistance members, politicians, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, disabled persons) of the Nazi regime are taken into consideration.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 that established the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, also designated 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust – observed with ceremonies and activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and at United Nations offices around the world.

Theme: Recognizing the Extraordinary Courage
of Victims and Survivors of the Holocaust

During the Holocaust, the Nazis went to great lengths to dehumanize their victims. Defying the Nazis took extraordinary courage.

In 2024, the United Nations is paying tribute to the bravery of all those who stood up to the Nazis, despite the grave risks. We will honour their legacy with their remarkable stories and history. In the memory of all victims and survivors, we will step up our efforts to counter Holocaust denial, antisemitism and racism.

The Holocaust profoundly affected countries in which Nazi crimes were perpetrated, with 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, more than 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 antisemitism and hate speech, this has never been so relevant.


"Flowering meadow with butterflies"
“Flowering meadow with butterflies” by Dorit Weiserová (1932-1944). Copyright: The Jewish Museum in Prague

Resistance to Nazi dehumanization took many forms. The story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis illustrates this clearly. Dorit Weiserová was one of 15,000 Jewish children imprisoned in Terezín ghetto-camp by the Nazis. The Nazis also incarcerated the elderly, war veterans, prominent Jewish artists, writers, composers, musicians, academics, at Terezín. Dorit was taught by Bauhaus-trained Jewish artist and educator, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who brought art materials with her when she was deported to Terezín. Dicker-Brandeis, along with other adult inmates, courageously resisted the Nazi intent to dehumanize the children. Through clandestine classes, the children were reminded of their ability to create and to imagine. In an increasingly dark and dangerous world, the children were given hope. Tragically, most of the children did not survive the Holocaust. Dorit was deported to Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Death Camp and murdered. Dicker-Brandeis too did not survive. In a last act of defiance before being deported, Dicker-Brandeis hid much of the art the children had created. As a result, thousands of drawings and paintings survived the War. They remain vivid testimonies to courage and resistance against dehumanization.

Religions for Peace’s vision

Religions for Peace Australia’s vision and mission is to advance common action among the world’s religious communities for peace and its following four guiding principles:

  1. respect religious diversity and seek to honour the identity and community of each religious tradition and their authentic spiritual principles.
  2. leverage the existing spiritual, moral and social assets of the world’s religious communities to act on deeply held and widely shared values.
  3. build and/or strengthen representative, sustainable multi-religious mechanisms, co-owned by religious institutions and communities.
  4. partner local, national, regional, and global multi-religious structures, with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental civil society actors.


International Holocaust Remembrance Day
International Holocaust Remembrance Day ~ 27 January

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