SAN ANGELO, TX -- Seventy-six years ago on January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated more than 6,000 prisoners from the Nazi Germany Auschwitz concentration camp.
In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The day is a solemn celebration that is observed around the world to remember the horrors of what took place in Germany in those camps for years and prevent them from happening in the future.
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere," said Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. "When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe."
In addition to establishing an international day to remember the millions of lives that were lost, the resolution encouraged UN members to actively preserve sites that the Nazis used during the "Final Solution."
This included places such as killing centers, concentration camps, and prisons used by the Nazis to exterminate millions of people. For decades these sites have served as a way to remind the world of the level of cruelty humans can inflict on one another.
"For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory," wrote Wiesel wrote in his memoir, Night. "To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time."
This year's theme is “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust."
According to the UN, the 2021 events will "focus on the measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust to begin the process of recovery and reconstitution of individuals, community, and systems of justice."