Today we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day by honoring the memories of the six million Jews and others persecuted and systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. We also honor the survivors among us who bear witness and inspire us all to stand against antisemitism and other forms of hate in our world.
As the survivor generation passes into history, we must find new ways to educate future generations about the Holocaust. The testimonies of survivors and their descendants remind us to be vigilant in defending the dignity and human rights of all. For two years running, the Department of State has spotlighted our colleagues who are descendants of Holocaust survivors. They all felt called to public service by the stories of their parents and grandparents. Among the many examples are U.S. Ambassador to Germany Dr. Amy Gutmann, whose father organized his family’s escape through India, and diplomat Daniel Devries, whose grandfather made it to Ellis Island after his family was murdered at Auschwitz. Daniel summed it up: “through public service, I can repay part of my family’s debt to the country that enabled us to thrive…and allows me to promote the American values that made a new beginning possible for my grandfather and countless others.”
This solemn day of remembrance underscores the need to condemn and counter Holocaust denial and distortion – forms of antisemitism – wherever and whenever they arise. Holocaust denial and distortion are affronts to the memory of the murdered. On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we resolve to counter lies with facts and hatred with action in service of our common humanity. Today and every day, we impart the solemn lesson of Never Again.