23 January 2007
Press Release
Note No. 6059

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents


UNITED NATIONS TO OBSERVE HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 29 JANUARY


Week-long Events Include Exhibits on Holocaust

Against Roma and Sinti, Holocaust Survivor Art, Film Screenings


The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) will hold the second annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust with a ceremony on 29 January from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters.


Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will introduce a programme that will begin with a video message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  Statements will be made by Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly, and Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.  The keynote “Remembrance and Beyond” address will be given by Madame Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor, President of the Fondation Pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, and a member of the Constitutional Council of France.


The 29 January observance, which will be webcast live at www.un.org/webcast, is organized by DPI’s “Holocaust and the United Nations” outreach programme, which was established under General Assembly resolution 60/7 in order to promote Holocaust remembrance and education to help prevent future acts of genocide. 


In keeping with the theme of “Remembrance and Beyond”, the observance will focus on the importance of infusing today’s youth with the lessons of the Holocaust so that future generations may work to prevent hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.  Marie Noel, a student at the College of Saint Elizabeth, will share her experiences visiting former concentration camps in Poland.


The memorial ceremony will also focus on the disabled community as one of the many victim groups of the Nazi regime.  Thomas Schindlmayr, of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will highlight the importance of education in promoting tolerance and ending discrimination against all minorities, particularly in light of the adoption by the General Assembly on 13 December 2006 of the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


A musical performance will be given by HaZamir:  The International Jewish High School Chamber Choir, a project of the Zamir Choral Foundation, founded and directed by Matthew Lazar.  Netanel Hershtik, cantor of the New York Synagogue, will recite the Kaddish.


During the observance, DPI will also launch a new website and resource for United Nations Member States, educators and non-governmental organizations titled, “Electronic Notes for Speakers”.  The product will be posted at www.un.org/holocaustremembrance and has been developed for the “Holocaust and the United Nations” outreach programme by Yad Vashem —- the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris.  The Electronic Notes provide survivor testimony and information materials that will equip speakers with the tools needed to conduct briefings on the Holocaust and lessons to be learned from it.  The pages in French have been developed by the Mémorial de la Shoah.


The same day, Daniel Mendelsohn, will discuss and sign copies of his latest book, The Lost:  A Search for Six of the Six Million, at 1 p.m. at the United Nations Bookshop located on the concourse level of the General Assembly building.  For more information, please contact Nandoe@un.org.  The United Nations Bookstore will also make available 10 volumes of autobiographical accounts of Holocaust survivors published jointly by the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project and Yad Vashem -- the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority.  An initiative of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project has, to date, collected over 900 manuscripts.  Its mission is to provide both the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust with the dignity of a permanent historical presence, not as impersonal statistics but as individuals with names, voices and emotions.


DPI will also mark Holocaust Remembrance Week with two exhibits in the United Nations Visitors’ lobby.  The first, titled “The Holocaust against the Sinti and Roma and Present Day Racism in Europe”, will focus on the experience of the Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust.  The second exhibit will feature artwork, created by Holocaust survivors, exploring the meaning and experience of the Holocaust.  For more information, please contact wichmann@un.org.


On 31 January, there will be a special screening of Volevo solo Vivere (I Only Wanted to Live), directed by Mimmo Calopresti.  The film tells the moving story of nine Italian survivors of Auschwitz.  The following day, 1 February, Nazvy svoie im'ia (Spell Your Name), directed by Serhiy Bukovsky, will be screened.  The film, about the Holocaust in Ukraine, tells the story of local people who escaped brutal execution and those who rescued friends and neighbours during the Holocaust.  Both films, produced by USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, will be shown at 6 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium.  Seating is limited for these private screenings and tickets can be obtained by writing to sura@un.org.


On 2 February, the third discussion paper in the Holocaust and Genocide series, authored by Professor Ben Kiernan, Director of the Genocide Studies Programme at Yale University, will be published.  The paper, titled “Hitler, Pol Pot and Hutu Power:  Distinguishing Themes of Genocidal Ideology” will be posted on the outreach programme’s website at www.un.org/holocaustremembrance@un.org.


Guests who are not in possession of a United Nations grounds pass must pre-register at holocaustremembrance@un.org or send a fax to 212 963 0536 to attend the 29 January memorial ceremony.  The gate to the United Nations will open at 8:30 a.m. and guests should arrive at the United Nations Visitors’ Entrance at 46th Street and First Avenue with valid photo identification to pass through security.  Please note that seating in the General Assembly Hall is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Due to the large number of guests expected, guests should arrive promptly.  Once seating in the General Assembly Hall reaches capacity, seating will be available in Conference Room 2 to view the proceedings on screen.  


For more information, please contact:  Advocacy Unit, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, email:  holocaustremembrance@un.org and fax:  212 963 0536.


For media accreditation, please visit:  www.un.org/media/accreditation.  Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  212 963 6937, fax:  212 963 4642.


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For information media • not an official record