Merkel warns of rising anti-Semitism on Holocaust Day

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Commemorations today in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and worldwide are remembering the nearly six-million Jewish people who died under the Nazi regime.

Calling on the world to stand together against the normalization of hate, United Nations Secretary-General Guterres has stressed in his message for the International Day dedicated to honouring Holocaust victims that everyone has a responsibility to quickly and decisively resist racism and violence.

Holocaust Memorial Day is held annually on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This year's statement is much clearer. Administration officials said the statement honored all victims of the Holocaust, not just the Jews and White House press secretary Sean Spicer accused critics of "nitpicking" the statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that anti-Semitism is on the rise in her country as political leaders, Holocaust survivors and others mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The day commemorates the victims of Nazi genocide, during which 6 million Jewish people, 200,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men were murdered. "We must reject those who fail to understand that as societies become multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural, diversity must be seen as a source of richness and not a threat", he underscored in his message per the UN Information Centre release.

In a statement released Friday the President said our nation mourns this dark stain on human history in which six million Jews were killed by Nazis during world war two.

"Although they are aging and their numbers are slowly dwindling", he said, "their stories remain with us, giving us the strength to combat intolerance, including anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry and discrimination".

Using Holocaust Remembrance Day to raise the issue, she said hatred starts small and is born in the hearts of those who casually spread it around their networks.

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