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MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is marked annually on January 27 in accordance with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 dated November 1, 2005.
The word "Holocaust" (derived from the ancient Greek word holocaustosis meaning "destruction by fire") began to be widely used after the publication of books by Elie Wiesel (1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner), a former concentration camp prisoner and Holocaust survivor. He coined the term Holocaust to define the mass murder of Jews by the German Nazis on the territory of Third Reich, its collaborating regimes and occupied countries. According to historians’ estimates, over 6,000,000 Jews fell victim during the Holocaust.
January 27 was chosen to become a memorial date since on this day in 1945 Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp (located on Poland’s territory, known as Oswiecim in Polish), where more than 1,100,000 people, including 1,000,000 Jews, had been killed.
The UN General Assembly’s resolution, aimed at stopping Holocaust denial attempts, condemns all forms of religious intolerance. The document also calls on member countries to develop educational programs so that the future generations would keep alive the memory of this page of the world’s history in order to prevent another genocide. In accordance with the resolution, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program was set up, under which international campaigns and seminars are arranged, educational manuals for teachers and students are issued and the Memorial Day is observed.
On March 22, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 61/255 urging all countries to unconditionally reject any attempts at Holocaust denial. The same year, UNESCO initiated a program affiliated with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program and aimed at preserving the memory of the Holocaust through education.
Every year around January 27, the United Nations New York headquarters and all three other UN offices (in Vienna, Geneva and Nairobi) host various ceremonies, screen films dedicated to Holocaust-related events, launch special exhibitions and other commemorative activities. In 2017, these events are dubbed "In Memory of the Holocaust: Educating for a Better Future." The Memorial Day organizers point out that educational activities concerning the Holocaust "are of global importance and may provide solid ground for strengthening respect for human rights, generating tolerance and protecting human values." On this occasion, on January 24, an exhibition dubbed: "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda" opened at the General Assembly building in New York for visitors to see. The exhibition is dedicated to the propaganda methods employed by the Nazis to receive voters’ supports. Apart from that, a documentary entitled "Persona-Non-Grata" will be screened, which tells the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who worked in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas during the World War II and issued visas for thousands of Jewish refugees, thus saving their lives.