19 January 2012
Press Release
Note No. 6332

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

Note to Correspondents

United Nations to Observe Holocaust Remembrance Day around the World


The United Nations will remember the children who perished during the Holocaust with a week of events culminating in a memorial ceremony to be held in the General Assembly Hall in New York on 27 January.  The global network of United Nations information centres is also playing its part in remembering these children with film screenings, educational programmes and exhibits.  More than 20 United Nations information centres — from Argentina to Ghana to Turkey — are slated to hold events.

The week’s activities begin on 23 January with the debut of IWitness, an online educational tool for young people developed by the Shoah Foundation Institute at the University of Southern California, followed by the screening of a new documentary film with animation on the evening of 25 January, titled The Last Flight of Petr Ginz.  The film showcases one Jewish boy’s life and the brilliant artwork he created while imprisoned in the Terezin Ghetto for two years, prior to his murder in Auschwitz at age 16.  The United Nations Holocaust Programme has published a 32-page study guide on the film for students 13 and up.  The Programme also partnered with the 92 Street Y to reach 4,000 New York City schoolchildren with Petr’s story.

Built around the poignant theme of “Children and the Holocaust”, this year’s observance will also include the unveiling of three exhibits in the United Nations Visitor’s Lobby on 24 and 26 January, and a commemorative conference in the afternoon of 25 January marking the seventieth anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy in Ukraine.

The two-hour memorial ceremony on 27 January begins at 11 a.m.  Hosted by Kiyo Akasaka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, the event will feature a video message from Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon and official statements from Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, the President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly; Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel; and Luis Lithgow, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic.  Cantor Azi Schwartz will recite the memorial prayers.  The event will include a performance by New York City high school students of “Sosua: Dare to Dance”, created by the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood.  It is an original musical production based on Jewish emigration to the Dominican Republic, one of the only countries to provide Jews a safe haven during the Holocaust.  The keynote speaker is renowned psychiatrist and child Holocaust survivor Professor Robert Krell.

For media accreditation, please contact +1 212 963 6937, malu@un.org, or visit www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/index.shtml.  Guests may view details on the week’s events and register for the memorial ceremony until 23 January at www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/2012/calendar2012.html.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme was established in 2006 by General Assembly resolution 60/7 to remember the victims of and educate about the Holocaust.  For further information on the Programme, please write to holocaustremembrance@un.org, or visit www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance.

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For information media • not an official record