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About the Day

On 1 November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 60/7 designating 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

Following the adoption of the resolution, the Secretary General of the United Nations characterized this special day as “an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, a unique evil which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten”.

The horrors of World War II sparked the creation of the United Nations. Human rights for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion is one of the fundamental mandates recorded in its Charter. At the inauguration of the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem (Israel) in March 2005, Secretary-General Kofi Annan recalled that “worldwide revulsion at the genocide -- at the systematic murder of six million Jews and millions of others -- was also a driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. The Secretary-General added that “the United Nations has a sacred responsibility to combat hatred and intolerance. A United Nations that fails to be at the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of racism denies its history and undermines its future”.

27 January was chosen to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day as it marks the day on which the largest Nazi death camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland) was liberated by the Soviet army in 1945. Several countries already observe this day to remember Holocaust victims.

For more information, please visit:

Main UN web site for the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

Holocaust timeline, from our curriculum about discrimination

Information sheet on the GA's resolution for 27 January

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at Holocaust Memorial, Jerusalem

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at Auschwitz exhibit, New York

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's opening remarks at seminar on anti-Semitism

Pictures, statements, and webcasts of the UN's seminar on anti-Semitism



A UN Cyberschoolbus curriculum unit on racial discrimination for middle- and high-school teachers and students that examines the Holocaust is available for classroom use. The unit aims to:

  • help students articulate their beliefs about racial differences;
  • describe the link between racist beliefs and actions using historical examples;
  • define institutional racism and provide examples of how it is supported through economic, political, social, and cultural means; and,
  • provide examples of positive actions to combat racial discrimination at the individual, community, and international levels
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