On January 27, the world remembers the day as the World Holocaust Remembrance day. This year This year, the theme of the UN Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked on Friday, is “home and belonging”, two concepts that were systematically ripped away from Jewish citizens, once the Nazi Party took control of Germany in 1933.
LET’S LOOK AT THE THEME, MESSAGES AND THE REMMEBRANCE
In his message for the International Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres notes that the Holocaust was the culmination of thousands of years of anti-Semitic hate, aided by the decision of so many to do nothing to stop the Nazis. “It was the deafening silence – both at home and abroad – that emboldened them”.
This, he continues, was despite Nazi Germany’s hate speech and disinformation campaigns, contempt for human rights and the rule of law, the glorification of violence and tales of racial supremacy, and disdain for democracy and diversity.
“In the face of growing economic discontent and political instability, escalating white supremacist terrorism, and surging hate and religious bigotry – we must be more outspoken than ever,” added the UN chief, drawing a parallel between the Holocaust and the present day.
The theme “Home and Belonging” guides United Nations Holocaust remembrance and education in 2023. The theme highlights the humanity of the Holocaust victims and survivors, who had their home and sense of belonging ripped from them by the perpetrators of the Holocaust. The violence of exclusion began with disinformation and hate speech that lent support to systemic injustice, discrimination and marginalization and ended with genocidal killing. The theme reminds us of our responsibility to respond with humanity to the victims of atrocity crimes, to counter hate speech, anti-Semitism, Holocaust distortion and denial, and prejudice – to do all we can to prevent genocide.
The Nazis and their racist collaborators rendered many millions homeless and stateless before and during the Second World War. The UN said that they consider how those who sought refuge from 1933 negotiated the meaning of “home” and “belonging”. “We consider those who survived by hiding and the impact of this experience on their sense of “home. We will examine the ways in which survivors as displaced persons in displaced persons’ camps, and the children born in these camps, navigated the post-War world – a world in which the meaning of “home” and “belonging” had been challenged radically by the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the UN said.
MISINFORMATION, STEREOTYPES, AND ANTISEMITISM
The United Nations also said that Holocaust remembrance and education that includes opportunities to develop a deeper appreciation of the victims and survivors and their agency, can inform our response to the plight of contemporary victims. Placing the victims and survivors in the centre of historical research, learning and remembrance illuminates the humanity of victims of atrocities today, and the impact of anti-Semitism fuelled by disinformation and the distortion of history. Focusing on the humanity of the victims prompts us to remember our humanity, and our responsibility to combat hate speech, combat anti-Semitism and prejudice – to do all we can to prevent genocide.
(Sourced from UN)