Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (including these young survivors) on January 25, 1945. Today, January 25 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Photograph courtesy the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

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  • On January 27, 2006, the United Nations observed the first International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day honors victims and survivors of the Holocaust, the systemic campaign of murder carried out by the Nazi government in the 1930s and 1940s.
    Millions of people were killed in the Holocaust. As much as a third of Europe’s Jewish population was killed. Roma (sometimes called Gypsy) populations were targeted. The Nazis’ so-called “T-4” program targeted disabled people. Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community were targeted. People and communities were also targeted for their beliefs: political dissidents, Jehovah’s Witnesses, communists, and union leaders.
    Millions of victims were killed in concentration camps, such as Dachau, Germany; Bergen-Belsen, Germany; and Belzec, Poland. International Holocaust Remembrance Day honors the day troops from the Soviet Union liberated the largest concentration/extermination camp, in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    campaign Noun

    activities designed to achieve a social, political, or military goal.

    communist Noun

    person or group of people who support communism, a type of economy where all property, including land, factories and companies, is held by the government.

    concentration camp Noun

    enclosed, guarded area where political prisoners are kept. Concentration camps are most associated with Nazi work and extermination camps during World War II.

    dissident Noun

    someone who disagrees with public opinion or authority.

    extermination Noun

    targeted killing of a group of things.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    Holocaust Noun

    (1933-1945) attempted genocide of the Jews of Europe, led by Nazi Germany. Also called the Shoah and the Final Solution.

    Jewish Adjective

    having to do with the religion or culture of people tracing their ancestry to the ancient Middle East and the spiritual leaders Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    liberate Verb

    to set free.

    murder Verb

    to kill a person.

    Nazi noun, adjective

    (1919-1945) (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) having to do with the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

    observe Verb

    to watch.

    population Noun

    total number of people or organisms in a particular area.

    Roma Noun

    minority group native to Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey.

    Soviet Union Noun

    (1922-1991) large northern Eurasian nation that had a communist government. Also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR.

    systemic Adjective

    having to do with complex, related sets of information and interactions.

    target Verb

    to establish something as a goal or aim.

    troop Noun

    a soldier.

    union Noun organization of workers formed to protect the rights and interests of its members.
    United Nations Noun

    international organization that works for peace, security and cooperation.