World Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: JANUARY 30, 2012
Friday marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day – the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In a ceremony at the site of the camp, survivors and officials gathered to commemorate the events of World War II and pay tribute to victims. The ceremony also mourned the passing of Kazmierz Smolen, an Auschwitz survivor who helped found the memorial and museum located at the site and served as its director from 1955 to 1990.
The museum put on display the doors used on the camp’s infamous gas chambers 70 years ago. ‘In front of us stand doors. Solid wooden doors through which naked, humiliated and terrified people passed. Tens of thousands of families passed through them, never to return,’ Auschwitz Museum director Piotr Ciwinski said.
Also marking the anniversary, President of the German Parliament, Norbert Lammert,called on Germans to stand up to all forms of extremism. He also offered an apology for the country’s complicity in the deportation and deaths of Jews during the Nazi occupation in World War II.
Speaking at the at the European Parliament in Brussels, EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said ‘the German people of today are not guilty but responsible for keeping the memory alive.’
In Los Angeles, a flash mob organised by the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust marked out an area the size of the prison camp, and held signs representing groups persecuted by the Nazis.
US President Barak Obama released a statement honoring victims of the Holocaust. ‘We pledge to stand strong against all those who would commit atrocities, against the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and against hatred in all its forms,’ he said.