Holocaust Memorial Day is observed on January 27 every year. It is a memorial day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one-third of the Jewish people, as well as countless members of other minorities, by Nazi Germany. The Holocaust was said to be an attempt to implement their “final solution” to the Jewish question. The Nazis used propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny German Jews human and civil rights. They built their case on centuries of antisemitism.
History of Holocaust Memorial Day
When World War II broke out in 1939, Germany invaded Poland subjecting approximately two million Polish Jews to abuse and slave labor. Thousands of Jews died during the occupation’s first months. Right after the invasion, Polish Jews connected to particular communities known as ‘ghettos.’
The living conditions in these ghettos were deplorable — a deliberate attempt by the Nazis to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews. This strategy was replicated throughout Eastern Europe in other Nazi-occupied countries.
The mass genocide of Europe’s Jews began as part of the Nazis’ “Final Remedy to the Jewish Problem.” Einsatzgruppen, and other death squads, swept through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, killing Jews through public execution. By the end of 1941, the first eradication camp, Chelmno in Poland, had been established, providing the Nazis with a method to continue mass killings.
The day commemorates the Nazi regime and its contemporaries’ murder of about six million Jews, as well as millions of others. On November 1, 2005, the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 60/7. The proposal came after a special session pretty early that year, on January 24, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps and thus the final act of the Holocaust.
Many countries have established Holocaust Memorial Days. Many, like the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Memorial Day, fall on January 27, whereas others, such as Israel’s Yom HaShoah, are acknowledged at other moments of the year.
Thousands of people gather across the U.K. each year to gain more knowledge about the previous era and take measures to ensure a safer future. They learn more, empathize more, and take on more responsibilities. We stand in solidarity with those who have been victims of genocide, and we honor survivors and all those whose lives have been altered beyond recognition on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Holocaust Memorial Day timeline
The Nazi Party seizes control of the German state on January 30.
The Nazi Party and its partner organizations arrange a country-wide boycott of Jewish-owned companies in Germany on April 1.
The German government oulaws all organizations affiliated with the Christian denomination of Jehovah's Witnesses.
New German legislation requires the closure of all Jewish-owned businesses.
Holocaust Memorial Day FAQs
What is the significance of Berlin's Holocaust Memorial?
The memorial is now a permanent emblem of German nationhood. The Holocaust has become an indelible part of Germany’s heritage and landscape. Because the memorial was funded by the state, it also serves as a symbol of political representation
How many Holocaust museums are in Berlin?
More than 7,000 have been established in Berlin, 70,000 in Europe, and the first stones were laid outside of Europe in Buenos Aires in 2017.
What does the term ‘Vashem’ mean in English?
Yad Vashem, which implies ‘a memorial and a name,’ is both a museum and a remembrance of the holocaust victims, also known as the Shoah.
How to Observe Holocaust Memorial Day
Participate in the discussion
Post your thoughts on your social media accounts. Use the hashtag #HolocaustMemorialDay to share information with your friends and family.
Pay your respects
Place roses on the tomb of the people who died. Pay a visit to a nearby cemetery or memorial site to pay your respects.
Go to museums
Mark Holocaust Memorial Day by visiting one of the museums devoted solely to the occasion. You can learn about their lives and struggles by visiting the Holocaust Memorial sculpture in Canada or the Museo del Holocausto de Buenos Aires in Argentina.
5 Tragic Facts About The Holocaust
The Jewish community in Germany
When the Nazis came to power, Jews constituted only about 1% of the German population.
Between 1941 and 1944, an estimated 2,000,000 Jews were killed in the western Soviet Union.
Individuals with disabilities
People with disabilities were among the first victims of Nazi mass slaughter.
What the world didn't know
People all over the world were aware of the Holocaust as it was taking place.
Although the term ‘Nazi’ stands for "National Socialist German Worker's Party," the Nazis were neither socialists nor workers' supporters.
Why Holocaust Memorial Day is Important
History cannot be repeated
Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a reminder of what is at stake. Peace needs constant effort and communication in today's increasingly polarized world.
A reminder of what has been lost
Those who have gone before us have left us with their legacies. It's critical to remember them and why we lost them because it's only through such reminders that we'll be able to work for a better tomorrow.
A Reminder to demonstrate humanity
One feature that distinguishes us from other species on the planet is our potential to not only express but also act on empathy.
Holocaust Memorial Day dates