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"The commemoration tends to remember victims, rather than a living people"
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The BBC's Richard Dimbleby in 1944
"I picked my way over corpse after corpse in the gloom"
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Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 22:53 GMT
Europe remembers the Holocaust
Holocaust Memorial day
Remembering the six million people who died
Ceremonies across Europe on Sunday commemorated the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, on the 56th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by Russian troops.

The murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany is seen in Europe as a defining event of the 20th century, and its most terrible.

A memorial mass was held at the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, and flowers were afterwards placed at its commemorative Wall of Death.

Ceremonies were also held in Germany, Italy, Sweden and, for the first time, in Britain.

Our past obliges us to be watchful for even the slightest sign of anti-Semitism, racism or attacks on the dignity of the individual

German President Johannes Rau
The memorial events aimed to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten.

Flags lowered

In Germany, where the annual 'Day of Remembrance for Victims of Nazism', was first marked in 1996, a ceremony was held at the site of the future Holocaust memorial in the heart of the capital Berlin.

Former inmate Anna Stachowiak wipes away a tear at the ceremony

In the evening, anti-racism campaigners lit thousands of candles across the city.

Tributes to the victims of the Holocaust were visible throughout the country, with flags flying at half-mast on public buildings

Germany's President, Johannes Rau, said the full force of the law should be brought to bear on the tiny minority of Germans who still cling to racist views and who are blamed for an alarming escalation in attacks against immigrants and Jews living in Germany.

He also appealed to German industry to make up the shortfall in $4.6bn fund that is being raised to compensate around a million survivors of the Nazi's extermination and slave labour camps.

British controversy

The Holocaust memorial day in Britain also recognised other mass killings, including those in Cambodia and Rwanda.

The day will put a particular emphasis on educating people of all ages about the lessons to be learnt from genocide

British Home Secretary Jack Straw

There has been considerable debate in Britain over how closely the day should focus on the Nazi Holocaust.

Many people have said that it should also include commemorations of the disputed massacres of Armenians in Turkey during World War I, which many Armenians regard as genocide.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined religious and political leaders and well-known personalities at a church ceremony in London.

Auschwitz survivors
Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
In Sweden, Prime Minister Goeran Persson was due to attend a ceremony at a Stockholm synagogue. Women who survived Nazi concentration camps were expected to talk about their ordeals at a public forum.

Italy marked its Holocaust Memorial Day with a ceremony in Milan and a minute's silence.

The country started its commemoration on Friday, when a Jewish section was added to a small museum in Rome dedicated to the city's liberation from nine months of occupation by German troops during World War II.

The new permanent exhibition includes a video of interviews with seven Italian Holocaust survivors.

Culture Minister Giovanna Melandri said the new Holocaust section was intended to remind Italians "of the banality of evil."

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