Two weeks ago, I went back to Bergen-Belsen in Germany for the 66th anniversary of that Nazi concentration camp’s liberation. Standing amid its mass graves, I realized that I’m alive because an SS officer named Kurt Becher persuaded the commandant to surrender the camp to the British. Tonight I’m attending a UN screening of “The Relief of Belsen,” a film on what came next. Built to hold at most 8,000 inmates, Bergen-Belsen was by April 1945 overcrowded with more than 40,000 emaciated inmates — many suffering from extreme malnutrition, typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery and a host of other virulent diseases — alongside some 10,000 unburied corpses in varying stages of decay. Among the liberated was my mother, a 32-year-old dentist from Poland who had arrived from Auschwitz-Birkenau five months earlier. My father and 15,000 more inmates were imprisoned less than a mile away at a German Army base. I was born three years later at the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons camp set up on that very same army base. I doubt if my parents and most other inmates would have survived if the British hadn’t freed them when they did. As it is, liberation brought an unprecedented medical and humanitarian challenge. For weeks on end, my mother (appointed by the British to organize and head a medical team among the survivors, and who is featured in the film) and her group of 28 doctors and 620 other volunteers worked round-the-clock alongside the military doctors to try to save as many survivors as possible. Despite their desperate efforts, the Holocaust claimed another 13,944 victims at Belsen in the two months after the liberation.And those who lived had to face a grim reality. As my mother later recalled: “We had lost our families, our homes. We had no place to go, nobody to hug, nobody who was waiting for us, anywhere. We had been liberated from death and from the fear of death, but we were not free from the fear of life.”The Genocide Convention, adopted by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1948, was meant to put an end to such tragedies. Instead, the last half-century has seen devastating new genocides in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Darfur and elsewhere. And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who repeatedly and unabashedly threatens the citizens of Israel with genocidal destruction, has yet to be declared a criminal under either the Genocide Convention or the standards applied by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg 65 years ago.I teach a seminar on post-World War II war-crimes trials. One of my students last fall was Adisada Dudic, a survivor of the genocidal atrocities perpetrated on Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces in the 1990s. As a child, she spent three years in refugee camps with her mother and sisters. “My home country is destroyed,” Adisada wrote, “my family members are scattered all over the world, thousands of Bosnian women and girls were raped and ravaged, thousands of Bosnian men and boys were tortured in concentration camps and buried in mass graves, and so many of my people were slaughtered by an enemy hand that was out to get every single person that self-identified as a Bosnian Muslim.” “I am infuriated,” she went on, “that we continue to have gross violations of human rights all over the world while we continue to find excuses for why we cannot interfere in other countries’ affairs.”Holocaust remembrance must not be allowed to devolve into an abstraction, intellectual or spiritual. If we are to honor the memory of the victims of Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz and all the other sites where Hitler’s “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was implemented, all of us, individually and collectively, must take as our guiding principle the vow made by Elie Wiesel when he accepted the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize.He swore “never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation . . . Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.”Menachem Z. Rosensaft teaches at Cornell Law School and Syracuse University College of Law; he is vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.