Vienna, 3 November 2005 Press release

Plassnik welcomes designation of 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day


Education as a precondition that the horrors of the holocaust are never repeated

Vienna, 3 November 2005 - "With this resolution the international community of states has set an important signal for the future. The commemoration of the holocaust and the education of our young generation are the precondition for ensuring that the horrors of the holocaust will never be repeated", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in response to the designation by the UN General Assembly of 27 January as the International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust.

Knowledge and awareness of the crimes of the past and education for tolerance were essential preconditions in order that each individual could shape his or her life in freedom and security. To this end Austria has been an active member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research. In setting up this task force, the governments and organisations undertook to implement national programmes supporting education and research in the field of the holocaust and its commemoration.

Plassnik recalled the words spoken by Simon Wiesenthal before the UN General Assembly in 1995 on the occasion of the "Year for Tolerance": "Hatred is the evil alternative to tolerance - it leads to radical words which are then followed by radical actions". Wiesenthal in particular had always emphasised the importance of education of our youth throughout his life.

With the unanimous adoption of the resolution the UN General Assembly designated the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on 27 January as a commemorative day. Austria was among the more than 100 co-sponsors of the resolution initiated by Israel, which calls for the establishment of education programmes and condemns the denial of the holocaust as well as all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is requested to take measures aimed at mobilising civil society for the holocaust theme.

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