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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Józefa Kantor
Józefa Kantor (Credit: Bohaterki z Ravensbrück/Facebook)

Today marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Since 2005 the United Nations General Assembly has designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It serves as a date for official commemoration of the victims of the Nazi regime and to promote Holocaust education throughout the world.

Girl Scouts in Holocaust History

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day we want to share the incredible story of the ‘Mury’ Clandestine Scout Troop. In her book, Harcerki z Ravensbrück (The Girl Scouts from Ravensbrück), author and former girl scout Anna Kwiatkowska-Bieda shares how a group of Polish women set up the only fully-fledged scout troop in a German concentration camp during World War II.

Read “Harrowing new book tells extraordinary tale of women who set up illegal scout group in WWII death camp” article to learn more or purchase the book.

Harcerki z Ravensbrück (The Girl Scouts from Ravensbrück)

According to Kwiatkowska-Bieda, “An English textbook was written on 80 sheets of toilet paper. A ‘Short Outline of Polish History’ was made from 12 notebooks. There were teaching materials and lesson outlines for future teachers. Astronomy classes were held at night. Mathematical equations were drawn on the ground.”

“The mutual support that the girl scouts gave each other and others was invaluable here,” Kwiatkowska-Bieda said.

Following the liberation of Ravensbrückr they met every year in Jasna Góra on the name-day of the scout leader Józefa Kantor, which was on March 19.

“They were friends till the end of their days. They liked spending time with each other, they went on vacations and pilgrimages together, they helped each other but they also organized meetings for young scouts to whom they wanted to pass their methods of scouting work,” said Kwiatkowska-Bieda.

There are many scout troops today in Poland that are named after the ‘Mury’ Clandestine Scout Troop.

2022 Holocaust Remembrance—Memory, Dignity, and Justice

For more than a decade the United Nations has selected themes for the annual commemorations that focus on topics such as collective experiences and universal human rights. This year’s theme, "Memory, Dignity, and Justice,” explores how preserving the historical record and challenging distortion are elements of claiming justice. 

You can watch the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony for free on January 27 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm (CST). The ceremony will be livestreamed worldwide through UN Web TV. Sign up to receive a reminder with the link to watch the ceremony live.