Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation on 27/01/2024

27 January marks Holocaust Memorial Day. It is a solemn reminder of one of the darkest chapters in human history. Established through a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, this day honours the memory of the six million Jews and millions of other individuals who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime during World War II. It reminds us of the fragility of freedom and the enduring importance of upholding human rights and dignity. 

We should remember the extraordinary courage of individuals who risked their lives to save others during this period of immense suffering. Their acts of kindness and solidarity serve as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. 

Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of prejudice, discrimination, and unchecked power. By acknowledging the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, we reaffirm our collective responsibility to safeguard human rights and prevent such atrocities from occurring in the future.

South Africa’s Constitution resonates deeply with the values upheld by Holocaust Memorial Day: it emphasises the importance of human dignity, equality, and the protection of fundamental rights for all individuals regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, or background. It underscores our nation’s commitment to reconciliation and peace-making in the aftermath of apartheid.

As we reflect on Holocaust Memorial Day, let us not only honour the memory of those who perished, but also reaffirm our commitment as South Africans to building a society where human dignity and freedoms are advanced.