Ceremonies in both Poland and Jerusalem marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the death camp run by the Nazis that was synonymous with the Holocaust. Over a million people were murdered there between 1940 and 1945, the vast majority of them Jews.

Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and French President Emmanuel Macron were among the leaders to attend the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center.

The Nazis used slave labor to build a huge, sprawling prison complex and killing factory in occupied Poland outside Oświęcim. Entire families from across Europe were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in cramped cattle trains. Immediately upon arrival in Birkenau, the fittest were selected to work as slave labor, while others deemed too weak to work — older people, women, children, the sick — were immediately sent to die in the gas chambers.

The Allies first started receiving reports of what was happening in Poland and other death camps as early as 1942. But they disbelieved them as Polish propaganda. It wasn’t until the Soviet Red Army liberated Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, that the world first saw how systematic and horrible the Nazis truly were. 

And no country knew that as acutely as Poland. At the outset of World War II, Poland was home to the largest amount of Jews in Europe. By the war’s end, six years later, 90 percent of Poland’s Jews had been liquidated. 

And while the world leaders were remembering the victims, with many of the survivors in attendance, the organizers in Jerusalem wanted to call attention to the waves of antisemitism and racism that are still prevalent across Europe. Waves of violence against Jews are now more widespread in Europe and in the United States than at any time since the end of World War II. 

In November, the Anti-Defamation League published a piece that said one in four Europeans harbor pernicious and pervasive attitudes against Jews, with those numbers rising sharply in Eastern and Central Europe. In Poland, anti-Semite attitudes rose to 48 percent, up from 37 percent just four years before. In Hungary, 25 percent of the population believes that “Jews want to weaken our national culture by supporting more immigrants coming to our country.” 

And while the survivors in the ceremonies in Poland and Jerusalem utter once more what they said 75 years ago when they were liberated, “Never Again,” events around the world show us that we haven’t come close to making these words a reality.