Americans are observing April 23rd to April 30th as "Holocaust Days of Remembrance" – a time to remember Nazi Germany's systematic murder of some six-million European Jews during the Second World War. This year marks the sixty-first anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps.
Millions of innocent people, mostly Jews, but also 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 killing centers such as Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland. The defeat of Nazi Germany by the U.S. and its allies finally put a stop to dictator Adolf Hitler's campaign of genocide.
Today, in some parts of the world, the ideology that made the Holocaust possible lives on. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has on several occasions denied that the Holocaust took place and called for the destruction of Israel. The United States and many other countries denounced his comments as reprehensible and dangerous.
Ambassador Edward O'Donnell, Jr., is the U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues. He says that when anti-Semitism and other forms of ethnic and religious intolerance are not confronted, democracy cannot and flourish. "We will continue to work with our international partners to fight anti-Semitism with renewed commitment," he said.
Ambassador O'Donnell says it is essential to educate future generations about the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust. "Tragically, the Holocaust is not the most recent example of genocide in world history," Mr. O'Donnell said. "The human suffering that took place in Cambodia, the Balkans, Rwanda, and that is presently occurring in Darfur, is horrific. It is our duty," said Ambassador O'Donnell, "as members of the global community, to be vigilant and take concerted action to prevent these atrocities from occurring in the future."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.