Today, and every day, we mourn the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust by the Nazis and their collaborators, as well as the Roma, Sinti, political opponents, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, and others persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime.  The Holocaust began with words – with labeling others as different, “less than,” a threat. Today, we hear disturbing words again in the midst of rising antisemitism.  To honor the victims of the Nazis, we reaffirm our commitment to combating Holocaust denial and distortion by speaking out, promoting accurate Holocaust education, and by standing against hate in all its forms.  The truth of the Holocaust is not up for debate, and neither is the relevance of the admonition of those who endured its horrors: “never again.”

The United States stands with Holocaust victims, their families, and their descendants.  We remember and we carry forward the legacy of survivors and their families when we apply the lessons of the Holocaust to combat antisemitism and other forms of intolerance.  We do so as we work with people of conscience everywhere to build a world where hate has no place.

On the morning of 27 January 1945 the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps still held some 7,000 prisoners. Over a million people deported to Auschwitz perished there. It is estimated that six million Jews were exterminated in the death camps.

The Council of Europe was the moving spirit behind the introduction of a Day of Holocaust Remembrance and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity. Education ministers from member states took the decision in October 2002. While Germany and France have chosen 27 January, the day when Auschwitz was liberated, Holocaust Day varies in other countries according to the respective historical experience.

The Council of Europe also helps teachers with their Holocaust Remembrance Day preparations by making available teaching material for raising pupil awareness of those dark times and exploring the topics of genocide and crimes against humanity so as to promote prevention, understanding, tolerance, and friendship between nations, races and religions.

Statement from President Joe Biden on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we join nations around the world and pause to mourn one of the darkest chapters in human history, when six million Jews were systematically targeted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust during the 1930s and 1940s. We also grieve the Roma, Sinti, Slavs, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, racial minorities, and political dissidents who were abused or killed. And we honor the courage of survivors and the heroism of people who bravely stood up to the Nazis, risking everything to save innocent lives.

This year, the charge to remember the Holocaust, the evil of the Nazis, and the scourge of antisemitism is more pressing than ever. On October 7 Hamas terrorists unleashed pure, unadulterated evil on the people of Israel, slaughtering approximately 1,200 innocent people and taking hundreds more hostage – including survivors of the Shoah.  It was the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust.

In the aftermath of Hamas’s vicious massacre, we have witnessed an alarming rise of despicable antisemitism at home and abroad that has surfaced painful scars from millennia of hate and genocide of Jewish people. It is unacceptable. We cannot remember all that Jewish survivors of the Holocaust experienced and then stand silently by when Jews are attacked and targeted again today Without equivocation or exception, we must also forcefully push back against attempts to ignore, deny, distort, and revise history. This includes Holocaust denialism and efforts to minimize the horrors that Hamas perpetrated on October 7, especially its appalling and unforgiveable use of rape and sexual violence to terrorize victims.

Under my presidency, and our first-ever National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism, we are continuing to condemn and fight antisemitism at every turn. Because sadly, these events remind us that hate never goes away. It only hides until it is given a little oxygen. And we must each do our part to ensure that hate in all its forms has no safe harbor anywhere in the world. It is our shared moral responsibility to stand up to antisemitism and hate-fueled violence at home and abroad and to make real the promise of “Never Again.”

It was a promise my father first instilled in me at our family dinner table, educating my siblings and me about the horrors of the Shoah. It is a lesson I have passed down to my children and grandchildren by taking them to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, so they could understand for themselves the depth of this antisemitic evil and the complicity of silence or indifference. And it is a message that I have strived to honor during my visits to Israel and by inviting Holocaust survivors and Jewish hostage families to the White House – so the entire nation bears witness.

On this somber International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we hold the Jewish community and the people of Israel close in our hearts. We recommit to carrying forward the lessons of the Shoah, to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate-fueled violence, and to bringing the hostages home.  And we remember the enduring strength, spirit, and resilience of the Jewish people – even in the darkest of times.