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Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp in the contemporary Poland, where about 1.1 million prisoners were killed. Around 90 per cent were Jewish.
The day is commemorated around the world as Holocaust Memorial Day.
In Finland, the day is called the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Persecution.
The main international event is held at the Auschwitz camp in Poland and, the commemoration is expected to be attended by about 40 heads of state or government as well as some 300 concentration camp survivors.
Speaker of the parliament, Eero Heinäluoma, and former Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen will represent Finland.
President speaks at synagogue
In Finland, the main event for the Day of Remembrance will be held at the Synagogue of Helsinki, where the speaker will be President Sauli Niinistö.
The event is organised by the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association.
A delegation of the leadership of the intergovernmental International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is visiting Finland and will participate in the Day of Remembrance event and visit schools. Thet will meet, among others, foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja.
As part of commemorating the Holocaust, Finland affirms its commitment to IHRA’s so-called Stockholm declaration, the aim of which is to promote the joint efforts of governments to combat anti-semitism, xenophobia and genocide.
IHRA’s 31 member countries and eight observer countries commit themselves to the development of education, research, museum activities and other ways in order to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.
In addition, Finland has kept the past and present persecution experienced by the Roma in the fore internationally.