On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) stands in solemn remembrance of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp; a day which revealed the horrific extent of the Nazi regime’s deliberate and systematic murder of 6 million Jews, and up to 11 million other targeted groups including Poles, Soviet citizens, Roma, disabled persons, political and religious dissidents, and the homosexual community.
In the years following the end of the Holocaust, the world would make a solemn vow that never again would it allow the crime of genocide to be perpetrated. This was codified in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide in 1948.
Despite the international community’s acknowledgement of the importance of genocide prevention, we have witnessed a repeated failure to recognize the warning signs of genocide even when confronted with the most damning evidence.
Impunity in the face of genocide has had catastrophic costs. Just a week before the Nazi invasion of Poland, Adolf Hitler infamously remarked to a group of Wehrmacht commanders “who after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – using the world’s silence in the face of the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of the Armenian people to justify his efforts to undertake the extermination of Europe’s Jewish community.
Today, the international community’s inability to identify and condemn genocide when it occurs has served to embolden its perpetrators.
From Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya, China’s systematic destruction of the Uyghurs, the unfolding mass atrocities against the Tigray in Ethiopia, to the institutionalized dehumanization and incitement of violence against Armenians by Azerbaijan and Turkey – international silence continues to fuel the proliferation of the ongoing cycle of genocidal atrocities.
On this solemn day of remembrance, we reaffirm our commitment to countering and combating genocide denial in all its forms – by exposing and identifying the perpetration of genocide whenever and wherever it occurs.
We also affirm our commitment to Holocaust and genocide education, acknowledging that only through greater public awareness and understanding can we hope to begin the process of stopping genocide in its tracks.