3 February 2011
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, at Auschwitz-Birkenau Holocaust Commemoration,


Tells of United Nations Efforts to Promote Tolerance, Combat Hatred


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim on 1 February:

I am deeply moved and humbled to be standing in Auschwitz, where millions of men, women and children were brutally and systematically murdered during the Holocaust.  I am honoured to be here with survivors who had the good fortune to rise above their Nazi tormenters, and honoured to pay tribute to the liberators who triumphed over the Nazi atrocities.

Auschwitz will be forever imprinted in our minds and souls as the international symbol of mass murder and horror.  Our hearts will continue to ache for the suffering of the victims and their families.  Only near the end of the war did the world begin to grasp the extent of the genocide and crimes committed here.  Even now, decades later, we still have much to learn.

That is why the United Nations instituted an annual day of commemoration in memory of the victims.  And that is why the United Nations General Assembly called for an outreach programme to develop educational materials about the Holocaust.  To help people understand what happened here and across the vast sea of extermination camps — so that it may never, ever happen again.

We are hard at work with partners such as Yad Vashem, reaching out to young people the world over.  We are promoting respect for diversity and human rights, combating hatred and racism.  We are speaking out against all forms of Holocaust denial.  We owe this to all those today who face prejudice and violence.  And we owe this to the millions of Jews and other minorities to whom we pay tribute today.

May these surroundings, and the memories of what happened here, guide us in heeding the lessons of the Holocaust.

Here in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where darkness fell, let us pledge to bring more light to the world.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record