null JOINT STATEMENT by László Székely, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, and Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Deputy-Commissioner responsible for the protection of the rights of nationalities living in Hungary on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In 2005 the General Assembly of the United Nations, with an unanimous resolution, declared January 27, the day of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, as the international memorial day of the victims of the Holocaust.

Nazi Germany adopted its program aimed at "Endlösung" (final solution), i.e., the extermination of the Jews, back in January 1942. Most members of the European Jewish communities died a martyr's death during the Holocaust: the number of victims is estimated somewhere between five and six millions; one tenth of them were Hungarian Jews. The Holocaust also had about an additional half million victims belonging to other minority groups. Members of the Roma minority, people with sexual identity or orientation different from the "normal", and also those living with disabilities considered unacceptable by the Nazi ideology were sentenced to extermination.

The first gas chambers were built in Auschwitz and in the camp near Birkenau, established in 1942; mass extermination started there in March 1943, when four crematories were brought into operation. The number of people deported to this camp complex is an estimated 1.3 million; 1.1 million among them were of Jewish descent. The inhuman, methodical killing of the deported did not end but in the late fall of 1944. In early 1945, with the Soviet army approaching, prisoners were marched to the West; approximately 7,500 severely weakened prisoners, mostly women and children, remained in the camp.

Ombudsmen of the past, as well as the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his Deputy responsible for minorities, functioning in this new, transformed system of protecting fundamental rights, have always commemorated the Jewish, Roma, disabled and LGBT victims of the Holocaust, called attention to the complex social and socio-psychological processes, social and individual crimes leading thereto, and consistently warned that anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia would jeopardize the proper functioning of our society. 

We all have a duty to act against any and all forms of exclusion, stigmatization and any instances of behavior violating human dignity. For us, following in the footsteps of our predecessors is not merely an office tradition, but also a moral duty and a manifestation of our personal conviction.

Through remembering the victims of the Holocaust, accurately documenting what happened and disseminating that knowledge from the aspect of fundamental rights, we deem it extremely important to convey to the younger generations a set of values that is built upon tolerance and the respect for fundamental rights and democratic values. Our task is to strengthen the future generations' commitment to preventing World War Two's tragic and inhuman events from recurring.

László Székely, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights

Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Deputy-Commissioner responsible for the protection of the rights of nationalities living in Hungary