EU places Holocaust memorial on official calendar

(JTA) — The European Union has incorporated International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 into its official calendar.

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“It is an honor for the institution that I lead to mark this day in such a dignified manner,” Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said ahead of the ceremony which, for practical reasons, is scheduled to take place in Brussels on Jan. 22.

For the past few years, the European Jewish Congress has noted the date with a ceremony held at the European Parliament which featured EU speakers and guests. However, the date was only this year formally placed on the EU calendar. 

“With the political gains of the far-right and neo-Nazi parties in European parliaments, the fact that this event is warmly embraced by the most prominent European institutions sends a strong message against hate, racism and anti-Semitism,” said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, who will be opening the ceremony next week.

The theme of the event is a tribute to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters, whose struggle took place 70 years ago.

In addition, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom will officiate at the inauguration of a new room at the European Parliament bearing the name of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. 

Jan. 27, the date that Soviet troops librated Auschwitz, was designated as a memorial day at the United Nations General Assembly in 2005. 

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