Memorial Day for Victims of Persecution to be changed to Holocaust Remembrance Day

Government Communications Department
Publication date 25.1.2024 10.05 | Published in English on 25.1.2024 at 12.41
Press release

On 23 January, the Prime Minister’s Office decided that Finland would begin observing Holocaust Remembrance Day in line with international practices as of 27 January 2024. The day had previously been designated in Finnish as Vainojen uhrien muistopäivä, or Memorial Day for Victims of Persecution.

In its 31 August 2023 statement to Parliament on promoting equality, gender equality and non-discrimination in Finnish society, the Government stated that Holocaust Remembrance Day would be observed from now on in accordance with international practices. Memorial Day for Victims of Persecution was first entered in the Finnish calendar in 2003. The name change will be updated in new calendars once the University Almanac Office has informed its customers of the change.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is currently observed in several countries. In Western and Central Europe in particular, the commemoration of the day is a visible political event. In 1995, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a Europe-wide Holocaust Remembrance Day to be observed in all Member States of the Union on 27 January. The European Union also refers to the day as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate 27 January as an annual international day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Finland voted in favour of adopting the resolution.

The decision to change the Finnish name to Holocaust Remembrance Day takes into account the policy set out in the government statement to Parliament, the international practices for naming the day, and the resolutions of the European Parliament and the UN. Internationally, Holocaust Remembrance Day has also been a day for opposing xenophobia and antisemitism more generally and commemorating victims of persecution that has taken place at various times around the world.

Inquiries: Timo Lankinen, Permanent State Under-Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 295 160 300, and Jouni Varanka, Head of Policy Planning Unit, Prime Minister's Office, tel. +358 295 160 177, [email protected]