Accra, Jan. 27, GNA – The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, in a memorial message to commemorate holocaust victims’ day, hailed ‘unsung heroes’, who risked their lives to help stop targets of persecution.
He said “courage is a rare and precious commodity and today, we celebrate those who had the courage to care.
“Throughout the Second World War, Jews, Roma and Sinti, Soviet prisoners of war and others who failed to conform to Hitler’s perverted ideology of Aryan perfection were systematically murdered in death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau”.
This is contained in a press statement by the UN, copied to the Ghana News Agency over the weekend.
It said: “But some were able to avoid the slaughter. They escaped because a few brave souls risked their lives and their families to rescue Jews and other victims of persecution from almost certain death. Some sheltered the intended victims in their homes; others helped families to obtain safe passage.”
The statement said some of the accounts of the rescuers have achieved iconic prominence; but many are known only to those whose lives were saved.
It said this year’s observance is meant to give those unsung heroes the regard they deserve. adding “I thank the righteous among the UN Programme at Yad Vashem, which is celebrating its fiftieth year, for identifying and rewarding them.”
The holocaust and the UN programme has produced an education package on the rescuers that would be used in classrooms around the world, the statement said.
It said: “I also congratulate another crucial partner, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, on its twentieth anniversary. Its theme “Never Again: What You Do Matters”, resonates deeply”.
The statement said acts of genocide illustrated the depths of evil to which individuals and whole societies could descend; but the examples of the brave men and women we celebrate today also demonstrate the capacity of humankind for remarkable good, even during the darkest of days.
It said on this international Day, “let us remember all the innocent people who lost their lives during the holocaust.
“And let us be inspired by those who had the courage to care — the ordinary people who took extraordinary steps to defend human dignity; for their example is as relevant today as ever.”
The statement said in a world where extremist acts of violence and hatred capture the headlines on an almost daily basis, we must remain ever vigilant, adding “Let us all have the courage to care, so we can build a safer, better world today”.
It said on January 27 each year, the UN remembers the holocaust that affected many people of Jewish origin during World War II.
The statement said this day is called the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
It also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on January 27, 1945, and it is hoped that through remembering these events, people would remember the Holocaust and prevent genocide, according to the statement.