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Congress & the Middle East:
House Resolution Commemorating 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

(January 25, 2005)


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In January 2005, the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 39 commending countries and organizations for marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and urging a strengthening of the fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry. The measure was introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos and was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of more than two dozen representatives.

H. Res. 39

Commending countries and organizations for marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and urging a strengthening of the fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and anti-Semitism.

Commending countries and organizations for marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and urging a strengthening of the fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and anti-Semitism.

Whereas on January 27, 1945, the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, including Birkenau and other related camps near the Polish city of Oswiecim, was liberated by elements of the Soviet Army under the command of Field Marshal Ivan Konev;

Whereas, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, at a minimum 1,300,000 people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945, and of these, at least 1,100,000 were murdered at that camp;

Whereas an estimated 6,000,000 Jews, more than 60 percent of the pre-World War II Jewish population of Europe, were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators at Auschwitz and elsewhere in Europe;

Whereas in addition, hundreds of thousands of civilians of Polish, Roma, and other nationalities, including in particular handicapped and retarded individuals, homosexuals, political, intellectual, labor, and religious leaders, all of whom the Nazis considered `undesirable', as well as Soviet and other prisoners of war, perished at Auschwitz and elsewhere in Europe;

Whereas the complex of concentration and death camps at Auschwitz has come to symbolize the brutality and inhumanity of the Holocaust;

Whereas on January 24, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly, in response to a resolution proposed by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and the European Union, convened its first-ever special session marking the liberation of Auschwitz and other concentration camps on the 60th anniversary of that event;

Whereas on January 27, 2005, the Government of Poland will host a state ceremony at Auschwitz/Oswiecim, Poland, to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the camps in which the Presidents of Israel, Germany, Poland, and Russia, and the Vice President of the United States, and leaders of many other countries will participate;

Whereas January 27 of each year is the official Holocaust Memorial Day in many European countries, including Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and has been designated by Israel as a National Day to Combat Anti-Semitism; and

Whereas the Department of State in the Report on Global Anti-Semitism transmitted to Congress in December 2004 noted that `anti-Semitism in Europe increased significantly in recent years', `Holocaust denial and Holocaust minimization efforts' have found increasingly overt acceptance in a number of Middle Eastern countries, and anti-Semitism has appeared `in countries where historically or currently there are few or even no Jews': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recalls with gratitude the sacrifices made by Allied soldiers, as well as partisans and underground fighters, whose service and dedication resulted in the defeat of the Nazi regime and the liberation of Auschwitz and other concentration camps during World War II;

(2) expresses gratitude to those individuals and organizations that assisted and cared for the survivors of Nazi brutality and helped those survivors establish new lives;

(3) commends those countries that are marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, as well as the United Nations General Assembly and other international organizations, for honoring the victims of the Holocaust and using this tragic anniversary to increase awareness of the Holocaust;

(4) urges all countries and peoples to strengthen their efforts to fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and anti-Semitism; and

(5) urges governments and educators throughout the world to teach the lessons of the Holocaust in order that future generations will understand that racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance and prejudice can lead to the genocide carried out in camps such as Auschwitz.


Sources: Library of Congress

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