On the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a day the international community has set aside to commemorate the memories of those so cruelly murdered in the Holocaust, we reaffirm our obligation to mourn, remember, and act. This is a day of shared sorrow and renewed resolve. We will always remember the hatred, cruelty and callousness of the perpetrators and the warped and twisted ideology that murdered six million Jews simply because they were Jews. We will always mourn all the victims of Nazi persecution, including gays, Roma, Slavs, disabled people, political opponents, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and all others whom the Nazis and their collaborators condemned as subhuman. We will always be haunted by the indifference of those who stood by. And we will always draw inspiration from the righteous of all nations who risked everything to rescue those in the path of the Nazis’ slaughter. If you save a single human life, the Talmud teaches us, it is as if you have saved the entire world.
As President Obama has said, “We must tell our children—but more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture.” In the early years of this century, we must renew our determination to shelter civilians of all nations behind the rule of law and the rules of war. In a world in which evil and cruelty are all too real, the United States is launching a comprehensive effort to prevent and halt mass atrocities. On this International Day of Commemoration, may our governments and people come together to apply the lessons of the past—and ensure that the 21st century is far less bloodstained than the 20th. We cannot bring back the victims of the Shoah. But we can rededicate ourselves to expanding the reach of human decency, human dignity, and human rights—today and all days.
Cross posted from U.S. Mission to the UN