USOSCE Statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

U.S. Mission to the OSCE - Vienna, Austria

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day was Monday, January
27.The date marks the anniversary of the 1945 liberation by Soviet forces of
the largest German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the Nazis killed
over one million Jews, Poles, Roma, Sinti, LGBT persons, and others who
suffered intolerance and discrimination at the hands of the Third Reich.

On this date we sadly reflect on the barbarous level to
which humankind can sink and on the ferocious cruelty that results when human
beings are regarded as subhuman and undeserving of dignity and of life. We have
witnessed the triumph of evil when good people do nothing and how silence
abetted the most contemptible crime in history.

And yet, alongside humankind’s capacity for evil, we are also
reminded of our capacity for good. The rescuers who refused to be bystanders
remind us that people are never powerless; that we always have choices. We can
choose to be indifferent to the suffering of others, or we can choose to
recognize and act on our common humanity. We have the choice to acquiesce to
evil or make real our solemn vow — “never again.” We must strive to understand
the roots of humankind’s capacity for malevolence toward one another and act to
prevent this from ever happening again.

We are reminded of the work the OSCE has done to promote tolerance
and non-discrimination, but also of the work we have yet to do. This year, 2014,
is the ten-year anniversary of the Berlin Declaration against anti-Semitism,
and we call on the OSCE and all participating States to commemorate this
landmark document this year.

We urge governments, civil society leaders, clerics, and all
people of conscience in all nations to speak out against hatred, intolerance,
and discrimination. The U.S. will continue to work with those who are committed
to a world free of anti-Semitism, who combat all forms of ethnic or religious
intolerance, and who work to end all forms of discrimination.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

- Cross posted from the U.S. Mission to the OSCE

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