US President Barack Obama honored the six million people who lost their lives in "a horrific crime without parallel in human history" in a statement released Thursday marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Obama said he joined people across the United States, in Israel and around the world to pay tribute to all who suffered in the Holocaust.
"We stand in awe of those who fought back, in the ghettos and in the camps, against overwhelming odds," the president said.
He noted this year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Swedish businessman and diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, one of "the rescuers who refused to be bystanders to evil."
Wallenberg was credited for his efforts to rescue Jews while serving as one of Sweden's diplomats in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust.
Obama will visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. together with Holocaust survivors and their families next Monday to honor those who have perished in the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday at the Pentagon to discuss the US-Israel defense relationship and regional security defense interests.
The two also joined a Holocaust survivor in lighting candles to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.