United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all people to stand firm against hate, amid rising antisemitism and other forms of religious bigotry. His appeal came in a video message on Tuesday delivered at a ceremony in New York to commemorate the 77th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day which falls every year on Jan. 27, the date in 1945 when the largest Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in occupied Poland was liberated by Soviet troops.
*Seventy-seven years ago, liberation ended the Holocaust. But it was just the beginning of our efforts to make sure such crimes can never happen again,” said Guterres. “As fewer and fewer can bear direct witness, let us together pledge to always remember and make sure others never forget,” he said. Guterres reflected on the enormous loss caused by the Holocaust. “Antisemitism — the oldest form of hate and prejudice — is resurgent yet again. Almost every day brings new reports of verbal assaults and physical attacks; of cemeteries desecrated and synagogues vandalised,” said Guterres.
The UN chief recalled that just last week in the United States a gunman held a Rabbi and his congregation hostage at their synagogue in Texas. He also listed examples of other infractions against Jews across the world, such as Jewish schools requiring around-the-clock police presence outside their doors. The UN chief has welcomed recent action by the UN General Assembly and others to clearly define and actively combat Holocaust denial.
However, he was alarmed that barely half of adults worldwide had even heard of the Holocaust, while a lack of knowledge among younger generations is even worse. The secretary-general stressed the importance of understanding the past and safeguarding the future. He commended the UN’s Holocaust educational programs, which have helped to heighten worldwide awareness of the tragedy.