Special Solemn Meeting of the UN General Assembly, 9 May 2005
As the world paused today to commemorate the end of the Second World War, the General Assembly held a solemn meeting to remember the victims of that unprecedented tragedy, and to reaffirm commitment to strengthening the world body born from its ashes.
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said it was entirely appropriate that the Assembly commemorate the ending of the Second World War, which had brought untold sorrow to humankind. That descent into the abyss had spared no one, and its end had unleashed a flood of feelings, especially among the survivors, some of whom had found in their deliverance evidence that a miracle had occurred.
The tasks of rebuilding towns and cities had been taken up with vigour, as had the task of rebuilding international relations, she said. As fascism had fallen, the United Nations had risen. As the ashes had settled and the dust cleared, a new Organization had been prepared to help prevent such catastrophes from happening ever again. Defending the notion of humanity was the most important task facing the international community today.
Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) recalled the horrors and untold suffering that that tragedy hadinflicted on humanity, to learn from the past and to build a goodfuture, saying “We must not fear opening our eyes to this non-gloriousperiod of history.” Today’s commemoration must be an occasion to reaffirm common commitments to reject war as a way to settledifferences, and to consider again the simple but essential values of dialogue and tolerance between all peoples.
Although the end of the War meant liberation for those in Western Europe, the Assembly was reminded today that for those in Central and Eastern Europe, the end of the War had marked the beginning of a painful chapter in their history.
- Press release about the meeting
- Official record of the meeting, containing all statements (A/59/PV.96)
Concert by the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, 7 May 2005
The sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, as well as the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations, was celebrated by a concert held in the General Assembly Hall, and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.
“Leningradskaya”, Symphony N°7, by Dmitry Shostakovich was performed by the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted under the baton of Maestro Yury Temirkanov.
- The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is Russia’s oldest symphony orchestra and is recognized as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. It was formed out of the nineteenth century “Imperial Music Choir” in 1882, but initially played only for the Imperial Court and in aristocratic circles. In October 1917, the ensemble was declared a State orchestra, giving its first public concert in Soviet Russia. In 1918, the orchestra was incorporated into the newly founded Petrograd Philharmonic Society. In 1991, after its home city was renamed, the orchestra changed its name from the Leningrad Philharmonic to the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic.
- Maestro Yury Temirkanov was born in Nalchik and has conducted the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre. He has also worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. In 1988, Mr. Temirkanov was elected Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1996, he conducted the Gala concert in Rome, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. He has performed with many great orchestras of the world including: the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw, the Cleveland Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Santa Cecilia.