The United Nations has designated January 27th as the "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust."
January 27, 1945, was the day that U.S.-led allied forces liberated the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz was one of many such camps set up by the Nazi German regime of dictator Adolf Hitler for the purpose of killing the Jews of Europe during the Second World War. Some six-million European Jews died in what has since become known as the Holocaust. They, along with several million Slavs, Roma, and political opponents of the Nazi regime, were starved, tortured, and worked to death in slave labor camps, or shot or gassed at death camps such as Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland. The defeat of Nazi Germany by the U.S. and its allies finally put a stop to Hitler's campaign of genocide.
The United Nations resolution establishing Holocaust Day calls on member nations to develop educational programs to teach the lessons of the Holocaust as a way to help prevent acts of genocide in the future. The resolution also opposes any steps to deny the Holocaust as a historical event, a practice common among anti-Semitic extremists.
Following the passage of the U.N. resolution establishing Holocaust Day, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said that the recent comments of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" showed the need for such a remembrance. "When a president or a member state can brazenly and hatefully call for a second Holocaust by suggesting that Israel, the Jewish homeland, should be wiped off the map, it is clear that not all have learned the lessons of the Holocaust and that much work remains to be done," Mr. Bolton said.
President George W. Bush says that the only way to defeat the ideologies of hatred and fear is to advance the cause of freedom:
"We have seen freedom conquer evil and secure the peace before. In World War Two, free nations came together to fight the ideology of fascism, and freedom prevailed. And today Germany and Japan are allies in securing the peace. In the Cold War, freedom defeated the ideology of communism and led to a Europe whole, free and at peace."
Like fascism and communism, says President Bush, "the hateful ideologies that use terror will be defeated by the unstoppable power of freedom and democracy."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.