Plassnik Welcomes Designation of January 27 As Holocaust Remembrance Day

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (11/03/05)

Education as the prerequisite for the Holocaust never happening again

Vienna Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik welcomes the declaration by the United Nation’s (UN) General Assembly of January 27 as an international day in commemoration of the Holocaust victims. With this resolution, the international community has given an important signal for the future. Commemoration of the Holocaust and the education of our young generation are the prerequisites that the atrocities of the Holocaust are never repeated.

Knowledge and awareness of crimes of the past together with teaching tolerance are the prerequisites for assuring that every individual can live in freedom and security. In this respect, Austria remains an active member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, said Plassnik. Governments and organizations have committed themselves to implementing national programs of support for education and research in the area of the Holocaust and its commemoration.

Plassnik recalled the words spoken by Simon Wiesenthal before the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the Year of Tolerance in 1995: Hatred is the evil alternative to tolerance – it leads to radical words which are then followed by radical actions. It was Wiesenthal who emphasized the importance of educating our youth.

With the unanimous acceptance of the resolution, the UN General Assembly designated the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27 as the day of commemoration. Austria was among those countries that supports the resolution initiated by Israel asking for the creation of educational programs and condemns the denial of the Holocaust as well as all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was requested to take all measures possible to mobilize civil society on topics regarding the Holocaust.