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.

Council of Europe Strasbourg 24 January 2023
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International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

“Every European should learn what happened. How and why the Holocaust took place. To keep the promise of never again “, said Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić at the Council of Europe ceremony on Tuesday 24 January, marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Addresses were delivered by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Annalena Baerbock, by the President of the Ministers’ Deputies and Permanent Representative of Iceland, Ambassador Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir, by the Ambassador of Israel to the international institutions in France, Haïm Assaraf, and by the Rabbi of the Jewish community of Frankfurt and President of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany, Avichai Apel.

The President of the Parliamentary Assembly Tiny Kox delivered the closing remarks. The solemn ceremony was concluded by a laying of wreaths in front of the commemorative stone on the forecourt of the Council of Europe’s headquarters and by a moment of reflection. 

 More information on Holocaust Remembrance