The United States joins the global community in marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year, we gather together to commemorate the victims of one of the worst tragedies in human history. Indeed, almost 70 years after the end of World War II, we continue to honor those lives that were brutally taken during the Holocaust by the Nazis. This machinery of systematic extermination also took the lives of Roma, gays, persons with disabilities, and others deemed inferior or undesirable by the Nazis. As President Obama has said, “We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history…not simply to remember, but to speak” of such crimes against humanity.
Since the Holocaust, the world has witnessed other genocides -- in Cambodia, Srebrenica, Rwanda and Darfur. We see Holocaust denial proclaimed on every continent. As we move into the 21st century, we must take a stronger stand against genocide.
It is our obligation to stay true to our values and maintain constant vigilance. We must never forget that when the checks and balances in government and society that protect fundamental freedoms are lost, the result can be massive atrocities. The United States is committed to a world in which the lessons of the Holocaust are taught and that all human rights are valued so that this will never happen again.