During the Second World War, six million Jews were systematically rounded up and exterminated. The Nazis also murdered Sinti and Roma, political prisoners, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Soviet prisoners of war.
The Holocaust was a colossal crime. No-one can deny the evidence that it happened. By remembering the victims and honouring the courage of the survivors and those who assisted and liberated them, we annually renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities and reject the hateful mentality that allows them.
From the shadow of the Holocaust and the cruelties of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of every person and to uphold the rights of all to live in equality and free from discrimination.
These principles remain essential today. People worldwide – including millions fleeing war, persecution and deprivation – continue to suffer discrimination and attacks. We have a duty to remember the past – and to help those who need us now.
For more than a decade, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has worked to educate young people about the Holocaust. Many partners – including Holocaust survivors – continue to contribute to this essential work.
The memory of the Holocaust is a powerful reminder of what can happen when we stop seeing our common humanity. On this day of Holocaust remembrance, I urge everyone to denounce political and religious ideologies that set people against people. Let us all speak out against anti-Semitism and attacks against religious, ethnic or other groups. Let us create a world where dignity is respected, diversity is celebrated, and peace is permanent.