More than 300 Holocaust survivors along with world leaders are gathering at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Tuesday to commemorate the 1.1 million killed there, as well as the millions of other victims killed during the period, as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Leaders are expected to attend from Poland, France, Germany and several other European countries, while the U.S. is sending Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who is Jewish, the Associated Press reported.
In a statement, the White House said that the anniversary is an “opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made confronting this terrible chapter in human history and on our continuing efforts to end genocide. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris serve as a painful reminder of our obligation to condemn and combat rising anti-Semitism in all its forms.”
At a reception in Krakow with 100 Auschwitz survivors on the eve of the gathering on Monday, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Launder said that European governments must adopt a “zero tolerance” policy towards jihadists and those preaching hate in Europe.
At the event in Krakow, American-Jewish film director Steven Spielberg called to preserve “places like Auschwitz so people can see for themselves how evil ideologies can become tangible acts of murder.”