Message from MsAudrey Azoulay,
Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims
of the Holocaust 27 January 2022
On 27 January 1945, Soviet forces entered the Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Today, we remember that terrible, dark period of history, which saw 6 million Jews murdered and which has continued to haunt the survivors and their families - and we commemorate it unwaveringly, so that it can never be repeated.
This work of memory has never been as relevant as it is now. Not only because the pandemic has brought back the dark and sinister reflex of scapegoating, but also because indecent and absurd comparisons drawn between the measures taken to fight the pandemic and the measures taken by the Nazis to persecute the Jews end up by downplaying the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Whenever this history is questioned, whenever violence is done to the memory of the victims, the rise of antisemitism and hate speech is encouraged, an everyday scourge of Jewish communities around the world.
More than ever, we must therefore be vigilant. It is our shared responsibility to protect the truth, and to keep alive the memory of all those who suffered under the Nazi regime; to support research and documentation that can confront the fantasies of fanatics with the reality of history; and to study and teach the Holocaust, so that education may prevent antisemitism and all forms of racism.
So it is through our collective efforts, constantly renewed, that we will be able to raise the memory of this painful past in the minds of men and women, especially the new generations, as a bulwark against hate speech and extremist ideologies, as a defence of peace.
That is UNESCO’s undertaking. That is why, on this international day, I call on all our Member States to continue their efforts alongside us to support research and education, and to raise awareness of the horror of the Holocaust - to honour the dead, and to protect the living.