On the morning of 27 January 1945 the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps still held some 7,000 prisoners. Over a million people deported to Auschwitz perished there. It is estimated that six million Jews were exterminated in the death camps.

The Council of Europe was the moving spirit behind the introduction of a Day of Holocaust Remembrance and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity. Education ministers from member states took the decision in October 2002. While Germany and France have chosen 27 January, the day when Auschwitz was liberated, Holocaust Day varies in other countries according to the respective historical experience.

The Council of Europe also helps teachers with their Holocaust Remembrance Day preparations by making available teaching material for raising pupil awareness of those dark times and exploring the topics of genocide and crimes against humanity so as to promote prevention, understanding, tolerance, and friendship between nations, races and religions.

2014 edition

27 January - On the occasion of the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, a screening of a creative documentary ''KARUSSEL'' will be organised in presence of the film's director, Ilona Ziok. This documentary tells the life story of the actor Kurt Gerron (who played in ''The Blue Angel'' opposite Marlene Dietrich) who was interned in the Theresienstadt camp and created a cabaret – Der Karussel – in the camp. The film re-creates this cabaret with songs sung by today's stars such as Ute Lemper, Max Raabe and Ben Becker. It has received many international documentary awards and received coproduction support from Eurimages Fund.
Screening room of the Council of Europe at 12.30 noon (with english sub-titles) and 5.00 p.m. (with french sub-titles).

26 January - Women's role in the Resistance
A personal account by a survivor, performance of a play, exhibitions of portraits of women and musical interludes are on the programme during this event, jointly organised by the European Centre which commemorates deported Resistance members and the Council of Europe. (European Youth Centre, 30 rue Pierre de Coubertin - Strasbourg. From 2 to 6 pm)