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Note from Crista Cowan, Ancestry Corporate Genealogist


My maternal grandfather was part of the Allied troops that liberated concentration and labor camps in Italy at the end of World War II. The things he witnessed and recorded in his war journal have become a part of my own family legacy. I have spent time reading through the records on Ancestry to learn more about the lives of the men, women, and children he helped to liberate and those the world was too late to save.

I am not Jewish.  But, I have learned how important it is to share the stories of those who suffered during that time so that we do not repeat that history.  I invite you to join Ancestry in commemorating the 2022 International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


On International Holocaust Remembrance Day


In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It serves as a time to intentionally remember and honor the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust and the millions of other victims of Nazi persecution.


Since 2010, the UN and its member states have held ceremonies of remembrance and designated annual themes that focus on various aspects of collective memory and human rights. The 2022 theme is “Memory, Dignity, and Justice.” As part of this year’s commemoration efforts, we invite people everywhere to join Ancestry in exploring how connecting historic records to personal and family history can help preserve these memories.


On Ancestry, you will find millions of records documenting details of the lives, relationships, and stories of those who perished and those who survived.  More than 22 million of these records have been made available through partnerships with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Shoah Foundation, Arolsen Archives, and others. They are available for everyone to explore at no cost at

“In the years since the end of World War II, we have learned that the Holocaust is part of the common history of mankind. It is vitally important that through the discovery, preservation and sharing the stories of those who suffered, future generations learn the consequences of bigotry and racism and the need to fight against them.” (Jane Berenbeim, President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies)


Ways to Remember


A virtual commemoration ceremony, hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will be held Wednesday, January 26 at 6 pm (EST). Survivors will reflect on their experience and honor those who chose to help. A replay will be available.

The United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony will begin at 11:00 am (EST) on January 27.  Survivors from Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the United States will share testimonies and the UN Secretary-General and President of the General Assembly will speak.  The ceremony will be livestreamed worldwide through UN Web TV.

Additional details about these and other events being held around the world for Holocaust Remembrance can be found here:


Join the Conversation


Share your own reflections on International Holocaust Remembrance Day using the hashtag #HolocaustRemembranceDay on social media.