Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem Israel news photo: Flah 90

For the first time since its establishment, the European Union has incorporated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan. 27, into its official calendar.

“I am delighted that, with our partners in the European Parliament, we have managed to place such an important event on the official EU calendar,” said EJC President Moshe Kantor. “Remembering the Holocaust is a massive undertaking, not least in a time when survivors are becoming fewer and anti-Semitism and intolerance are rising.”

“Furthermore, with the political gains of the far-right and neo-Nazi parties in European parliaments, the fact that this event is warmly embraced by the most prominent European institutions sends a strong message against hate, racism and anti-Semitism,” added Kantor.

While the European Jewish Congress has for the past few years commemorated the Remembrance Day with a ceremony at the European Parliament and with the involvement of a number of EU officials, this year it was formally placed on the EU calendar.

"I am deeply touched that we are commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament once more, a location that is highly symbolic of peace and reconciliation between former arch-enemies," Schulz said about the event. “The Holocaust must always be fresh in our minds and souls, in the conscience of humanity, and should serve as an incontrovertible warning for all time: Never again!"

The theme of the event is a tribute to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters and to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

Jan. 27 was designated as a memorial day at the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, as it was the date on which Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz death camp in 1945.