Americans are observing April 15th to April 22nd as "Holocaust Days of Remembrance" -- a time to remember the systematic murder of some six-million European Jews during the Second World War by the Nazis and their collaborators.
This year marks the sixty-second 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 the Nazis by the U.S. and its allies in 1945 finally put a stop to dictator Adolf Hitler's campaign of genocide.
This year's remembrance has a special focus on the plight of children in the Holocaust. The United States Holocaust Museum website points out that, "As part of the 'Final Solution,' the Nazis targeted children for death as so-called 'useless eaters,' incapable of exploitation as forced laborers." The United States remains determined to honor the legacy of these and other victims of the Holocaust.
Unfortunately, in some parts of the world today, the ideology of denial and hatred 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 have denounced his comments as reprehensible and dangerous.
"Remembering the victims, heroes, and lessons of the Holocaust is particularly important today," said President George W. Bush in a written statement earlier this year, "as Holocaust denial continues, urged on by the Iranian regime, which perversely seeks to call into question the historical fact of the Nazi's campaign of mass murder."
Mr. Bush said, "We must continue to condemn the resurgence of anti-Semitism, that same virulent intolerance that led to the Holocaust." He said that remembrance of the Holocaust is an essential part of combating "bigotry and hatred in all their forms."