Today, January 27, we mark International Holocaust Memorial Day. We come together to remember the past atrocities of humanity’s moral abyss. But this remembrance is not only a matter of the past but very much of our present and future. This day reminds us of the flickering warning signs urging us to fight so that the human spirit shall forever subdue our inner demons.
Today is also a great sign of hope. Yes, hope. Hope that we can come together and make a difference in our world, despite all the naysayers and desperation which sometimes rule the dome.
In 2005 such forces came together, led by then Israel’s Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom. This team of dedicated professionals included Israel’s UN Ambassador at the time, Dan Gillerman, and senior Israeli diplomats Ron Prosor and Dr. Ron Adam, currently serving as Israel’s Ambassadors in Germany and Rwanda, along with the commitment of the entire Israeli diplomatic machinery.
January 27 was the day of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp and an eternal symbol of human evil. 60 years after that liberation, on November 1, 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 60/7 to designate that day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The resolution not only honors the victims of Nazism but also supports the development of Holocaust educational programs to remember the past while reminding us of the importance of preventing future genocides. The resolution rejects any form of Holocaust denial. It condemns all forms of “religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief” worldwide.
This resolution was not voted on but was accepted UNANIMOUSLY by the UN General Assembly in a symbolic moment of unity and hope. Ever since every year, on January 27, all UN offices around the world come together to commemorate the Holocaust, with a tearing eye on the past and a watchful one on our future.
Today is a day in which we remember the moral abyss we humans-beings could fall into through hatred, succumbing to our demons, and the peaks we could reach flying on the wings of the human spirit, conquering those inner demons.
This truth does not just echo in the hallways of the United Nations but inspires us all to light the flare of hope wherever we may be.