Holocaust Remembrance Day

  • Issue: January 2008
  • Designer: Matias Delfino
  • Stamps Size: 34.6 mm x 51.4 mm
  • Plate no.: 705 (no phosphor bar)
  • Sheet of 9 stamps Tabs: 3
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

On 1 November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 60/7 designating 27 January as an annuual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The resolution rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, urges Member States to develop educational programs that will teach future generations about the horrors of genocide and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence aginst persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief.

27 January was chosen to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day as it marks the date on which the largest Nazi death camp, located in Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland), was liberated by the Soviet army in 1945. Several countries already observe this day to remember Holocaust victims.

Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations, is quoted in the upper section of the stamp sheet, as follows: "Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundaments principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community".

Sixty years have passed since the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp and mankind is at a crossroads where individual memory is slowly transforming into historical narrative.

It is imperative that the Holocaust be remembered and it is up to the Jewish people and all of humanity to live up to that challenge.

The goal of those who instigated the Holocaust was to erase another people from the face of the earth, down to its last member, wherever they were to be found. This mass murder was not preceded by any national, religious or political confrontation rather it was motivated by ideology. The modus operandi for the murders was innovative. They were carried out thoroughly by the State and its institutions, based upon an industrialized organizational plan. That plan was given top priority even when contradictory to Germany's war interests.

The Jewish people, who were concentrated mainly in Europe, were biologically and culturally eradicated from the continent's landscape. One third of them, including 1.5 million children, were murdered.
To this day, more than 60 years after the conclusion of the war, the Jewish people have not recovered. There are currently some 10 million Jews worldwide, approximately half as many as there were on the eve of World War II.

The Nazis and those who aided them successfully wiped out a rich Jewish culture which was also an important part of European culture.

The Holocaust caused great change within the Jewish people: the large Jewish center in Europe was destroyed and its place was taken by the newer centers in Eretz Israel and the United States.

The State of Israel, the Jewish state, was established after the Holocaust and Holocaust remembrance has become a central component of Jewish identity both in Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

Mankind was changed forever. The philosopher Prof. Emil Fackenheim would later describe the Holocaust as an "epoch-making event". The Holocaust is not only the subject of historical analysis. Since 1945 it has been a central feature of any discussion regarding morality, ethics, law, society and culture. Thus, Holocaust remembrance is not simply a consequence of personal memory but rather that of overall systems of research, education, literature and documentation. Author Primo Levi, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, named his book "If This is a Man". The title reflects a short but all-encompassing statement/question: a great sense of wonder in the face of the fragility of all basic human values and the immense evil that unfolded in the mass murder of the Jews alongside the posing of a challenge, which is the obligation to understand the human soul in all its complexity so that such a spiritual weakening of humanity will never again be allowed to occur.

This stamp marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, represents a small but significant step toward world awareness.

Prof. Hanna Yablonka

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Joint Issue with the United Nations