YEREVAN (A.W.)— Jan. 27 marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the biggest Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in southwestern Poland. Over the years, Jan. 27 has come to be known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this occasion, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian issued a statement paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and standing in solidarity with the Jewish people. Sarkisian also highlighted the fact that the Armenian people will be commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in 2015, and that Armenians empathize with the pain of the Jewish people.
A commemoration event co-organized by the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the United Nations Armenia office, and the Jewish community in Armenia was held at Yerevan’s Holocaust Memorial on Jan. 27, reported ArmRadio. Participants placed flowers at the memorial, said prayers, and held a candlelight vigil. The second part of the memorial ceremony was held at the National Library of Armenia, where an exhibit featured posters and publications on the history of the Holocaust.
During World War II, the Nazi regime and its collaborators carried out the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 1 million Roma, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men.
Below is the full text of Sarkisian’s statement.
The genocide committed against the Jews during World War II was truly one of the cruelest and most tragic pages in human history. January 27, which symbolizes the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, became one of the most important thresholds in putting an end to the evil of the Holocaust.
Paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and the condemnation of that crime is relevant as long as various expressions of hatred and intolerance based on national or racial origin and religious background continue to reappear, and as long as the threat of recurrence of such crimes against humanity has not dissipated.
It is an unequivocal truth that consigning victims of genocides to oblivion and denial, particularly on the state-level, is a stage of that crime. That is a double crime committed against both the innocent victims and the current and future times. Perhaps it might have been possible to prevent the crimes committed under the veil of World War II had the crimes against humanity committed during World War I earned unequivocal international condemnation, and had those responsible for them been duly punished.
Once again, I pay tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of Holocaust, and express our support and solidarity to the Jewish people, and the Jewish community of Armenia. This year, the Armenian people are commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, and we, more than anyone, empathize with the pain of the Jewish people.
I reiterate our commitment to jointly struggle for the prevention of crimes against humanity, determined to proclaim “never again.”