German lawmakers are taking part in a special parliamentary session commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, those who helped the persecuted and others who resisted Adolf Hitler's tyranny.

After lawmakers stood for a minute of silence, parliament speaker Wolfgang Schaeuble told them Wednesday that Hitler had easily turned "racial ideology into public policy." He said the lesson is that there must be "consistent opposition to any form of exclusion before it is too late."

Schaeuble says "it was all about us and the others, and the others did not belong, were not allowed to belong."

International Holocaust Remembrance Day fell this year on Saturday, 73 years after the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland.