On Thursday the White House published a statement in which the president said "On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I join people of all faiths across the United States, in Israel and around the world in paying tribute to all who suffered in the Shoah—a horrific crime without parallel in human history.
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"We honor the memory of six million innocent men, women and children who were sent to their deaths simply because of their Jewish faith. We stand in awe of those who fought back, in the ghettos and in the camps, against overwhelming odds."
The president also addressed the fact that this year, the US was marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg and said "we are humbled by the rescuers who refused to be bystanders to evil."
He then added: "On this day, and all days, we must do more than remember. We must resolve that 'never again' is more than an empty slogan. As individuals, we must guard against indifference in our hearts and recognize ourselves in our fellow human beings.
The president also addressed the recent rise in hate crimes and anti-Semitism and noted that "As societies, we must stand against ignorance and anti-Semitism, including those who try to deny the Holocaust. As nations, we must do everything we can to prevent and end atrocities in our time.
'Profoundly, unbearably, unique'
"This is the work I will advance when I join survivors and their families at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday. This must be the work of us all, as nations and peoples who cherish the dignity of every human being."
The Pentagon also held a remembrance ceremony during which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the US and the rest of the world must live with the burden of knowing they did not save six million Jews.
Meanwhile, the US Congress marked Holocaust Remembrance Day during its Thursday session.
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren addressed Congress and warned of the similarities between pre-WWII climate and the one prevalent today.
"Human history is rife with atrocities, massacres, and wars, but nothing can be equated with the enormity of the Holocaust," he said. "It is profoundly, unbearably, unique."
The legacy of the Holocaust, he added, "Endows us with a double duty. First, we must not allow the memory of the six million to be trivialized. But, paradoxically, our second duty is to prevent another Holocaust from occurring.
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