On 27 January, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the ambassadors of 11 different countries laid a wreath at the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen to honour victims of the Holocaust. Representatives of Germany, Poland, France and the United States among others commemorated the deportations from the Dossin Barracks during the ceremony.
Between 1942 and 1944, 25,940 Jews and 353 Roma were deported from the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen. Most of the trains were bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Few deportees survived the harrowing experience. Today the former military barracks is a serene place for remembrance and reflection, a Memorial.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January. The choice of date was deliberate as this was the date on which the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated. Every year, Kazerne Dossin participates in the commemoration. On this occasion, it invited several ambassadors who are based in Belgium to lay a wreath at the former barracks. Eleven ambassadors from the United States, Poland, Germany, UK, Sweden, Israel, Lithuania and France, among others, travelled to Mechelen for the occasion.
After the wreath laying ceremony, they visited the Kazerne Dossin Memorial and Museum.
Tomas Baum, the director of Kazerne Dossin, addressed the guests at the start of the ceremony: “The liberation of Auschwitz is a significant event and its commemoration, across national borders, only serves to strengthen our conviction that it is important to encourage people to reflect on what we can learn from our past. Sharing knowledge and insight, as well as empathy and a connection in hopes that we stand stronger together today.”