On Monday, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an official memorial event will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on the site of the former Nazi concentration camp.
On this occasion, Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and Chairman of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation will join more than 100 Holocaust survivors and heads of state from at least 22 countries, for the official event.
Addressing guests on behalf of the Pillars of Remembrance, private donors who support the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and its mission to preserve the authenticity of the memorial site, Lauder will highlight the need for Holocaust education and the significance of preserving the artifacts and structures that remain.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to stand alongside many of the last remaining survivors for this solemn occasion. The memorial site remains forever a brutal reminder of the horrors unleashed through antisemitism,” said Lauder. “On January 27, we will honor the memory of the 6 million Jews the Nazis killed simply because they were Jewish, including almost 1 million Jews murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The group of more than 100 Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors and their families will come from the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia and several European countries.
“Nothing is more important for the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz than having the survivors of this horrible place present to help the world bear witness,” said Lauder. “The survivors are the direct link. That is why I am willing to do whatever is needed to bring them back. Let the world see them, let the world hear them, make the world remember.”
‘’Through preserving Holocaust memory and recognizing the urgency of Holocaust education, we can ensure that future generations truly understand the complete and utter hatred of the Nazi attempt to annihilate European Jewry and ensure it never, ever happens again,” he added.
The official 75th anniversary commemoration is organized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
When Ronald Lauder first visited Auschwitz with his family in 1987 while serving as U.S. Ambassador to Austria, he found a state of disrepair that threatened the disappearance of the historic site. He committed to its preservation for future generations, shortly thereafter bringing in curators from the Egyptian Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to assess the needs and create a plan. Lauder, with the help of Auschwitz survivors Kalman Sultanik and Ernest Michel, raised $40 million from 19 countries to ensure the site’s preservation.
In 2003, with the financial support of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum opened its Conservation Laboratories. The laboratory’s mission is to preserve material traces of the camp, including every shoe, every document and every building that remain at the site.
As part of efforts to promote the importance and advancement of Holocaust education, the World Jewish Congress has launched its fourth annual #WeRemember campaign to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred, genocide and xenophobia.
The 2020 #WeRemember initiative invites participants from around the world to take pictures of themselves holding a sign with the words “We Remember,” and then post their pictures to social media using the hashtag #WeRemember, to spread the message that “never again” must mean never again.