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epa03188694 A participant in an act of silent remembrance during the 'March of the Living' at the site of former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz, in Oswiecim, Poland, 19 April 2012. Several thousands of people are taking part in the annual Holocaust-commemorating 'March of the Living' on the site of the wartime Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. 'Marches of the Living' have been organised since 1988 by the Israeli Ministry of Education in cooperation with the 'March of the Living' organisation on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). EPA/ANDRZEJ GRYGIEL POLAND OUT
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Nazi victims remembered

January 27, 2013

People across Germany attended memorial ceremonies on January 27 to remember the millions who perished under Hilter's regime. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to use the day to combat intolerance.


On Sunday, organizations held events across Germany to commemorate the victims of the National Socialist dictatorship under Adolf Hitler, who ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Chancellor Merkel emphasized the importance of the Day of Remembrance for Victims of National Socialism during her podcast posted online Saturday.

"We must clearly say, generation after generation, and say it again: with courage, civil courage, each individual can help ensure that racism and anti-Semitism have no chance," she said.

Because the number of eyewitnesses to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazi regime dwindles every year, people must take the opportunity to listen to survivors, she added.

"Naturally, [Germany has] an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of national-socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust."

In 1996, former German President Roman Herzog proclaimed January 27 the Day of Remembrance for Victims of National Socialism, in order to stress the importance of vigilance toward intolerance and hatred. The date was chosen for its significance in Holocaust history. On January 27, 1945 Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration camp where over one million men, women and children were killed.

The United Nations designated the same day in 2006 as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

Over six million people perished in concentration camps from forced labor, starvation, disease or extermination. The majority of the victims were Jews. The Nazi regime sent hundreds of thousands of others to their deaths during their reign of terror, whom the state deemed degenerate or a political threat, including the disabled, the mentally ill, homosexuals, Sinti and Roma, political enemies and members of religious organizations.

Because the memorial day falls on a Sunday this year, the German parliament is scheduled to hold its "hour of commemoration" on Wednesday. The German-Israeli author and journalist Inge Deutschkron will speak about her experiences surviving the Holocaust at the event.

kms/jlw (AFP, epd)

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