International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27

January 27 was chosen unanimously in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On that date in 1945, the Red Army entered the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex and liberated the 7500 remnants of the detainees, those who somehow survived the atrocities inflicted on them by the Nazi camp guardians. Since 2005, International Holocaust Remembrance day is observed annually by the United Nations member states in commemoration of that event and in honor of the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust.

Some facts you should know about the Holocaust

·         Approximately one third of the Jewish people in the world, about 6 million men, women and children were massacred by the Nazis and their accomplices during the Holocaust. Altogether it is estimated that about 11 million people were murdered by the Nazis in the holocaust.

·         Beside Jews, the Nazis persecuted and murdered Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses crippled people and other minority groups, sending them to forced labor and extermination camp. Millions of people of all ages belonging to these groups as well anyone suspected of resistance to the Nazi regime were ruthlessly murdered.

·         At least 1.1 million children were slaughtered by the Nazis and their accomplices during the Holocaust.

·         In October 1941, more than 50,000 civilians, most of them Jews, were brutally murdered by Rumanian Fascist forces under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Nicolae Deleanu who participated personally in the carnage. The event is known as the Odessa Massacre.

·         In 1945, General Dwight D. Eisenhower(who was the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War II and later served as president of the United States) foresaw the forthcoming attempts to deny the Holocaust. He therefore summoned press reporters to witness the effects of the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis on their victims.

·         Bergen-Belsen, the concentration camp in which Anne Frankperished, was liberated by British troops a few weeks after her death.


 Japan allowed Jewish refugees shelter within its borders in spite of protests by Nazi Germany, Japan's military ally during the war.

·         Hitler planned to collect thousands of personal artifacts that were pillaged from the Jews who were deported from Bohemia and Moravia to extermination camps in order to create a "museum of anextinct race" after the war.

·         Hitler never set foot in a concentration camp.

·         Witold Pilecki, a Roman Catholic Polish soldier who served as a member of the Polishresistance, volunteered to be imprisoned in the Auschwitz death camp in 1941 in order to gather intelligence, escape and inform the Allied forces of the Nazi atrocities carried out in the camp. He managed to escape after nearly two and a half years of imprisonment and presented the Allies an official report known as Witold's Report.

·       The Mosque in Paris helped Jews escape the Nazis by providing them with false Islamic identities during World  War II.

·         Denial of the Holocaust is considered a crime in seventeen countries, including Germany and Austria.

·         More than 870,000 Jews were murdered in Treblinka by a staff of no more than 150 members.

·         Descendants of a Moslem family who gave shelter to Jews in Bosnia during the holocaust were later rescued by Israel during the Bosnian genocidein1995. They immigrated to Israel and converted to Judaism.

And last but not least, here's a fact not known to many of us:

Dr. Ernst Leitz II, header of the Leitz optics company and  producer of the Leica cameras, along side with his daughter, saved hundreds of Jewish employees of his company and their families who were persecuted by the Nazi regime under the Nuremberg Laws. He did this in the years 1938-1939 by assigning those employees to sales departments abroad, mainly in the United States, England, France and Hong Kong in an operation known as the Leica Freedom Train. Elsie Kuehn-Leittz, Ernst's daughter, was caught and imprisoned by the Gestapo but was eventually freed. For her and her father's humanitarian efforts, she was awarded numerous honors after the war had ended. See also a short video on Youtube on this subject.

 More pertinent fact about the Holocaust can be found on the Web, as for example in the following recommended link.

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