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Tuesday, December 1, 1998 Published at 01:15 GMT


'Holocaust Day' to remember victims

Jewish victims at the Auschwitz death camp

The UK is to decide whether to remember the victims of Hitler's genocide by setting up a national Holocaust day.

The proposal forms part of the British submission to an international conference on the issue of art and other assets seized by the Nazis, expected to open in Washington on Tuesday.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are looking at ways to ensure the Holocaust is remembered after the issue of compensation comes to an end.

"The idea of a remembrance day is one part of our efforts to consider how to create a lasting memorial so that the lessons of history are never forgotten."

Minute's silence

The submission also suggests a minute's silence across the country and that schools hold assemblies devoted to remembering the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed as well as hundreds of thousands of gypsies, gays, the disabled and Hitler's political opponents.

The idea comes from a task force, made up of experts from Britain, Israel, Sweden, Germany and the United States, set up to look into ways to ensure the Holocaust victims are never forgotten.

The submission states: "Task force participants consider that it would be appropriate for countries to set aside a day each year on which the victims of the Holocaust were formally remembered."

"By observing Remembrance Day, the peoples of the world, present and future, would express their opposition to anti-semitism, racism and other forms of discrimination, and their support for those subjected to them."

International anniversary

It says the national day could be observed on different dates in each country.

Proposed dates are the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January, Anne Frank's birthday on 12 June, or Yom Ha Sho'ah - the day in the Jewish calendar for Holocaust remembrance, which falls on a different date each year.

The Washington conference will look at the gold issue but will also focus on looted bank accounts, insurance policies, art and other assets.

It follows the Nazi Gold Conference in London last year which focused attention on the Third Reich's massive looting of gold.

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