Rome (Italy). January 27, 2022 is the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust, 77 years after the liberation of the concentration camp of Auschwitz, in Germany, which took place on the same day in 1945. This anniversary, already commemorated by some countries, in Germany since 1996 and in Italy since 2001, it was established worldwide on 1 November 2005 by the United Nations, on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
At the end of the General Audience of 26 January 2022, Pope Francis recalled the day and addressed an appeal in particular to educators and families:
“Tomorrow is the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust. It is necessary to remember the extermination of millions of Jews and people of different nationalities and religious faiths. This unspeakable cruelty must no longer be repeated! I appeal to everyone, especially educators and families, to foster awareness of the horror of this black page in history in the new generations. It must not be forgotten, so that a future can be built where human dignity is no longer trampled on”.
On 13 September 2021, during the Apostolic Journey to Budapest and Slovakia, the Holy Father had addressed these words to the Jewish Community of Bratislava, inviting them not to forget the past:
“Dear brothers and sisters, your history is our history, your pains are our pains. For some of you, this Shoah Memorial is the only place where you can honor the memory of your loved ones. I too join you. On the Memorial is inscribed in Hebrew “Zachor“: “Remember!” Memory cannot and must not give way to oblivion, because there will not be a lasting dawn of fraternity without first sharing and dissipating the darkness of the night. This is the time for us in which the image of God that shines in man and woman cannot be obscured. Let’s help each other in this”.
“Memory, Dignity, and Justice” is the theme that guides the commemoration and educational paths of the United Nations in this year 2022. Writing and remembering history means restoring dignity to the victims of the Holocaust. Safeguarding historical documentation, remembering the victims, counteracting the distortion of historical facts, are fundamental actions to do justice to the tens of thousands of people who have suffered these atrocities.
Numerous are the initiatives and activities undertaken by schools of all levels, which on January 27 live the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust as a moment of great educational value for the integral formation of children, teenagers, and young people, protagonists in knowing and questioning the events of a stretch of history which, although they have not known, strongly challenges them in their human and social growth.