Under the theme “Courage Facing Evil,” today we mark the Day of Holocaust Remembrance and honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
As we remember the horrors of that dark chapter, we are surrounded by descendants of Holocaust survivors who were inspired by their family’s suffering and courage to dedicate themselves to public service. It is a sentiment I share from my own family’s story. They are public servants like U.S. Ambassador Michèle Taylor, whose parents and grandparents managed to escape the Holocaust before the Nazis murdered her extended family. This terrible loss of loved ones and her family’s will to survive were catalysts for the Ambassador’s long career defending and advancing the cause of human rights. Today, she is the U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, where she stands up for the freedom, equal rights and dignity of all, and where she is working to rally the world in support of Ukraine against Russia’s brutal war of aggression.
Our charge remains to stand united against tyranny, lies, and hatred in all their forms. We must confront rising antisemitism. We must ensure that current and future generations learn the history and lessons of and from the Holocaust, so they feel a responsibility to stand up to injustice and take action against atrocities wherever they occur. This work is urgent. Fewer and fewer survivors are still with us, while those who deny and distort the history of the Holocaust are finding insidious new ways to spread their lies.
Today we remember all Holocaust survivors, the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered, and the millions of others who were killed or suffered persecution and horrific inhumanity, including Roma, persons with disabilities, and LGTBQI+ persons who were targeted in the Nazis’ campaign of dehumanization. Their precious lives and memory teach us why it is important not only to remember, but also to act. Every act of courage in the face of evil gives meaning to our sacred vow “Never Again.”