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70th Anniversary Observance of the Kristallnacht pogrom
"My Opposition: the Diaries of Friedrich Kellner”
20 November 2008

Welcoming remarks by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka

Excellencies, Professor Kellner, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you for joining us for the second event today that the Department of Public Information has organized in observance of the 70th Anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom.

Tonight, we recall the widespread and systematic violence that took place on the nights of 9 and 10 November, 1938, in Germany and Austria.  It was a night that many view as the start of the Jewish Holocaust in Europe.

I am very pleased that this evening’s film screening of My Opposition: the Diaries of Friedrich Kellner, is presented in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations.

I take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Thomas Matussek for being with us tonight, and for the continued support of the Government of Germany for the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach programme.

This partnership has, for example, enabled us to bring United Nations information officers from around the world to Berlin to learn more about this bitter period of history, and to enhance their outreach skills on Holocaust remembrance and genocide prevention. 

Today’s Kristallnacht anniversary events provide us with an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the past, and to remember the need to stay vigilant against hatred and bigotry.

We are mindful that this year’s anniversary takes place as we commemorate the 60th anniversaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention.

In tonight’s documentary, we will see the extraordinary story of a brave man who defied the Nazis and who stood up against wrongdoing.  We will see how, today, the “Kellner Diaries” serve as an historical record of the Nazi period for the world to study.