International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Italian Holocaust survivors Sami Modiano, right, and Piero Terracina embraced each other during a commemoration ceremony in Rome's Capitoline Hill. Dozens of guests, including Rome mayor Virginia Raggi, attended the ceremony.
The German parliament (click here) remembers the victims of the Holocaust every year on January 27, which is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. But for the first time, the commemorations emphasized the approximately 300,000 people who were murdered in Nazi euthanasia programs.
The President of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, recalled that 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, the meeting held to organize and plan the mass murder of European Jews. Lammert said the conference reflected the "technocratic, cynical inhumanity" of Nazi Germany.
But mass killings were already well underway before the 1942 conference. Doctors had been sterilizing people diagnosed as genetically ill since 1934, and systematic mass murder of such people had been taking place since 1939 as part of what became known as Action T-4. Those who didn't fit in with racist Nazi ideals of health were sent to six killing facilities in Germany and Austria.
"Euthanasia began with the denunciation of people as useless mouths to feed," Lammert told the audience, which included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Hans-Joachim Gauck. "Barbarism of language is barbarism of the spirit. Words became deeds."...