Originally posted at Blog for Darfur.
Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, since 2005 commemorated by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Obama both made statements in honor of the day.
President Obama said in a video message:
I want to thank those of you who found the strength to come back again, so many years later, despite the horror you saw here, the suffering you endured here, and the loved ones you lost here. Those of us who did not live through those dark days will never truly understand what it means to have hate literally etched into your arms. But we understand the message that you carry in your hearts.
For you know the truth that Elie Wiesel spoke when I stood with him at Buchenwald last spring. There, where his father and so many innocent souls left this earth, Elie said that “memory has become the sacred duty of all people of goodwill.”
We have a sacred duty to remember the twisted thinking that led here—how a great society of culture and science succumbed to the worst instincts of man and rationalized mass murder and one of the most barbaric acts in history.
Holocaust survivors will not be with us forever ‑‑ but the legacy of their survival must live on. We must preserve their stories ‑‑ through memorials, through education, most of all through robust efforts to prevent genocide and other grave crimes.
The United Nations is fully committed to this cause. Together, let us pledge to carry forward the mission of Holocaust remembrance ‑‑ and uphold human dignity for all.
Photo of Auschwitz-Birkenau by flickr user daneen_vol.