"New initiatives in Holocaust remembrance and education have given us an authentic basis for hope. But we can and must do more if we are to make that hope a reality.
We must continue to teach our children the lessons of history's darkest chapters. That will help them do a better job than their elders in building a world of peaceful coexistence."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 27 January 2009
2009 Calendar of Holocaust Remembrance Events
Monday 26 January
- 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Videoconference with francophone UN Information Centres, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris) at UNESCO, Paris.
- 1:15 p.m. : “Roads to death: The Pharrajimos in Hungary” an exhibition on the persecution and murder of the Roma and Sinti, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Hungary to the United Nations.
- USHMM exhibition: “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race”. This exhibition shows how the Nazi regime, with the support of doctors and scientists, aimed to change the genetic makeup of the population through measures known as "racial hygiene" or "eugenics". The categories of persons and groups regarded as biologically threatening to the health of the nation were expanded to include Jews, Roma, the disabled and other minorities. These policies resulted in forced sterilization and murder, and ultimately in the Holocaust. Open to public from 26 January through 22 March 2009.
Tuesday 27 January
- 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Memorial Ceremony: “An Authentic Basis for Hope: Holocaust Remembrance and Education”
- 1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: Panel discussion “The Holocaust-The Rescued and the Rescuers”, organized by B’nai B’rith International, with Kurt and Margarete Goldberger, survivors; Rachel Ostreicher Bernheim, Chair/CEO of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States; Paul Shapiro, Director of the Centre for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations.
- 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: "Irena’s Vow", a reading of a play by Dan Gordon, with Tovah Feldshuh and directed by Michael Parva. Irena's vow is the story of a Polish Catholic woman who risks her life to protect the lives of twelve Jewish refugees whom she secretly took under her care while working as head housekeeper for a prominent German major. The reading is presented by The Directors Company and The Invictus Theatre Company. The event is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Poland to United Nations, and the Polish Cultural Institute.
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Wednesday 28 January
- 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. : Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project Book Signing.
Mrs. Frances Irwin presented and signed copies of her memoir included in the volume titled Stolen Youth: Five Women's Survival in the Holocaust at the UN Book Shop. Every January in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, volumes from the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project are on display in the Public Lobby and for sale in the Book Shop. Mrs. Jeannie Rosensaft, one of the editors of the memoirs, discussed the Project, which is an initiative of Nobel Prize laureate and United Nations Messenger of Peace Elie Wiesel, and Menachem Rosensaft, Chairman of the Project's Editorial Board. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, joined the Project in 2004, which has published eleven books with 17 survivors' memoirs to date. Local survivors, students and the general public were invited to attend the event, which was moderated by Juan Carlos Brandt, Chief, Advocacy and Special Events, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information.
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Thursday 29 January
- 10:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Weekly DPI/NGO briefing on "The Sephardic Jews in Greece: the Untold Story". From early in its history, Thessaloniki (the second-largest city in Greece) embraced the Jews who sought its hospitality. For more than 20 centuries, the city has been—literally and figuratively- a safe harbour for the itinerant and persecuted Jews from all over the world. As a result it was honoured with the title “La Madre de Israel,” [or “mother of cities amongst the people of Israel”], as it was the most populous city of Sephardic Jewry in the world. Thessaloniki lost 94 percent of its Jews in the Holocaust. Today only some 1,200 remain and their story is little known. The Briefing focused on their story and featured personal accounts of some of those who survived the Holocaust in Thessaloniki.
- 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Screening of documentary film "Watermarks".
Watermarks tells the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah, which was located in Vienna, Austria. In defiance of Hitler, the women courageously refused to take part in the Berlin Olympics in 1936. In 1938, the Nazis shut down the club, but the swimmers managed to flee the country before the war broke out. Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman meets the members of the women’s swim team in their homes around the world, and arranges for them to have a reunion in their old swimming pool in Vienna, a journey that evokes memories of youth, femininity and strengthens lifelong bonds.