The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Southwest D.C. is marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday with special programming.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the 1945 liberation at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz in occupied Poland.
Holocaust survivors will share their stories, people can read the names of Holocaust victims in the museum’s Hall of Remembrance and commemorative pins will be handed out to visitors.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrated on Jan. 27, was created in 2005 by the United Nations to honor the victims of Nazism.
“The declaration actually has a lot of power and commemorative terms and a lot of power in terms of reminding us how many issues human rights, genocide prevention, tolerance of people who are different nondiscrimination based on race, religion, … how many things relate back to the Holocaust, and its worst horrors,” Paul Shapiro, Director of International Affairs at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, told WTOP.
At 9:30 a.m., the museum will host a live online conversation with a Holocaust survivor.
The museum said visitors would hear Holocaust survivors talk about their experiences from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Names of the the victims in the museum’s Hall of Remembrance will be read aloud from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tickets are required to enter the museum. They are available on the museum’s website.
“Each person will receive a commemorative pin that presents one of the museum’s mottos, which is what you do matter,” Shapiro said. “Because in the end, the prevention of crimes like the Holocaust is only possible if individuals step forward and do the right thing.”
This commemoration comes at a time when acts of antisemitism have been making headlines. In the D.C. area., antisemitic graffiti was found recently drawn in three Montgomery County, Maryland, and two Loudoun County, Virginia, public schools.
On Wednesday, a man wearing a Star of David chain was assaulted while shopping at a grocery store in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Montgomery County police said the suspect could face additional hate crime charges.
Shapiro said the important message the Holocaust teaches people is that hate can bring “catastrophic” consequences if not confronted.
“In our own interest, we need to push back on that as hard as we can, and ask our elected representatives ask international organizations, ask educational institutions to push back as hard as they can because otherwise, we don’t know what the long term consequences for everyone will be,” he said.
WTOP’s Shayna Estulin contributed with this report.