The United Nations designated January 27—the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as a day for member states to honour the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Today we face an alarming rise in Holocaust denial and antisemitism—even in the very lands where the Holocaust happened—and threats of genocide in other parts of the world. Each year the Museum reaches millions of people worldwide with the lessons about the dangers of unchecked hatred.
Situated in the hexagonal structure that overlooks Eisenhower Plaza, the Hall of Remembrance is a simple, solemn space designed for public ceremonies and individual reflection. The walls encircle an eternal flame and are inscribed with the names of concentration and death camps. Diffused sunlight illuminates the Hall as it passes through the translucent glass of a centre skylight. The floor is red granite, spattered and cracked by natural fissures. Narrow openings on the side walls let in additional light and provide partial views of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. Visitors may light memorial candles in the Hall, a universal symbol of renewed life and an act of remembrance in many cultures. The eternal flame burns before an inscription from Deuteronomy on the responsibility of memory: Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children. Credit: The United States Holocaust Memorial Meseum.
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