International Day of Commemoration
in memory of the victims of the Holocaust
2009 Holocaust Remembrance Activities around the world
The global network of United Nations information centres (UNICs), United Nations Information Service (UNIS) and United Nations Offices (UNO) observed the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in 2009 in partnership with civil society groups and Government representatives.
Solemn ceremonies were held in Asmara, Baku, Bucharest, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, Nairobi, Panama City, Pretoria, and Washington D.C. The audiences of these events were composed with: representatives of governments and the civil society, non-governmental organizations, members of the diplomatic community, members of the Jewish community, students, scholars, and representatives of UN agencies.
Many of these events were organized at the highest level of Government. For example, the Israeli and German Ambassadors participated in the ceremony organized by UNIC Nairobi in collaboration with the Israeli Embassy. Mr. Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff, Chair of the International Task Force for Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, participated in the memorial event organized by UNIS Vienna.
UNIC Panama organized a solemn ceremony with the Israeli Embassy in Panama, the German Embassy and the Legislative Assembly. UNIC Pretoria organized a ceremony in partnership with the Johannesburg Holocaust Centre.
UNICs senior representatives in Asunción, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Washington D.C. and UNRIC Germany participated in commemorative ceremonies organized by governments and non-governmental organizations.
Footprints for Hope
UNIC Dar Es Salaam participated in the Footprints for Hope Project, the newest initiative of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. Local students donated old footwear and painted them with messages of hope. The shoes were exhibited in the UNIC library for two weeks and then moved to the participating school.
Children having a Questions & Answers session with a Holocaust survivor in Prague.
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme organized a videoconference on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event connected five francophone UN Information Centres (Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Dakar, Lomé, and Yaoundé), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Kigali, the Memorial de la Shoah hosted by UNESCO in Paris, and the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in New York Headquarters.
Educational activities were organized in Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam, Lomé, Ouagadougou, Prague, Pretoria, Tokyo and UNO Tashkent. UNIC Ouagadougou, in partnership with the University of Ouagadougou, organized a conference on the "Strategies to prevent genocide".
UNIC Prague, in partnership with the Jewish Museum Prague, organized a series of educational programmes, which involved more than 250 students from secondary and high schools and lectures by Holocaust survivors.
UNIC Pretoria organized an event in partnership with the School of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Pretoria.
UNIC Tokyo organized a workshop in partnership with a Japanese NGO who gave a presentation on the story of Hannah's suitcase. UNO Tashkent initiated outreach events at selected high schools of Tashkent.
Exhibitions commemorating the Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust were organized in Antananarivo, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Mexico City, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Port of Spain, Prague, Vienna, and Tbilisi.
UNIS Vienna hosted the exhibit "Vienna's Conscience- Close-Ups and Conversations after Hitler", based on the eponymous book.
UNIC Ouagadougou, in partnership with five local high schools, organized an exhibit composed with posters, films, books and brochures about the Holocaust. Held in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the exhibit welcomed 3,421 visitors, including Government officials, students, members of NGOs and Associations, members of armed forces, and media.
UNIC Prague hosted, in partnership with the Jewish Museum Prague, a special exhibit on “The Ghetto of Baluty”, a polish city where numbers of Czech Jews were transported on their way to Auschwitz.
UNIC Baku, Dar es Salaam, Prague, Pretoria, Windhoek, UNO Almaty and Tashkent organized special film screenings.
Baku, Dar es Salaam Prague, Windhoek and Tashkent screened “Into the Arms of Strangers, Stories of the Kindertransport”. UNIC Prague showed a documentary film “Ghetto Baluty”. UNIC Pretoria screened the documentary titled "Hannah's Story" which was introduced by the film-maker in person. UNIC Windhoek also screened the film "Testimony of the Human Spirit".
Outreach to media organizations by the global network of United Nations Information Centres led to articles in the local press, radio and television in many countries, including Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Burundi, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland Paraguay, Poland, Portugal Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
The solemn ceremony and the exhibition organized by the UNIC Dar es Salaam were widely covered by the media. The Director of UNIC Port of Spain was interviewed on TV and radio about their photo and video exhibit. The Director of UNIC Rio de Janeiro gave an interview about the observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was aired by the cable television channel of the Israeli Federation of Rio de Janeiro. The solemn ceremony by UNIS Vienna also received a lot of media attention. UNIC Lomé produced a radio programme with Radio Lome (audience 2.5 million) on the Holocaust.
The message of the Secretary-General was translated into the six official languages of the United Nations, as well as many local languages including Azeri, Czech, Danish, Finnish, German, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Singhalese, Swedish, and Tamil.
Also, many information centres included special features on their websites, such as Buenos Aires, Nairobi, Prague, Pretoria, UNIS Vienna, UNO Baku, UNRIC Germany, Greece & Cyprus, Nordic Countries and Portugal.