On January 27, 1945 the German Nazi concentration and extermination Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was liberated.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the horrors of the Holocaust and remembers the 17 million people killed by the Nazi regime, including the 6 million Jews persecuted and executed.
At least 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz. The majority, 1.1 million, died there. Close to 1 million of whom were Jews.
LGBTQ people were also imprisoned, persecuted, and murdered by the Nazi state. Roughly 100,000 homosexuals were arrested and sentenced by the Nazi’s during their reign. The pink triangle, now a sign of resistance for the LGBTQ community, was the Nazi marker for homosexuals in the concentration camps.
Today, as we pause and remember the unimaginable loss of life, we must a vow to never forget what happened and to challenge those who work to erase the history of the murder of 17 million people. We must stay aware of events in our country and around the world and fight the rise of fascism and the scapegoating of immigrants, refugees, and those deemed marginal.
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”
- Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel