The aim of the film series is to provide a forum for discussion by Member States and civil society partners, and to raise awareness of the Holocaust and the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.
Children of the Holocaust
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, organized the film screening and discussion of the film Children of the Holocaust. This British film combines animation and interviews with elderly survivors who recount their childhood experiences of Nazi atrocities, their escape from occupied mainland Europe to Britain and the impact that this had on their lives.
H.E. Mr. Jonathan Guy Allen, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, delivered opening remarks. Following the film, a discussion was held with the Producer Kath Shackleton and the Director of Fettle Animation, Zane Whittingham. Ms. Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, moderated the Q&A.
Watch Q&A session here.
"Persona Non Grata"
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Japan and Lithuania to the United Nations, organized the film screening and discussion of the film Persona Non Grata. The film reveals the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat whose decision to issue visas to Jewish refugees in Kaunas, Lithuania, saved thousands of lives. The Permanent Representatives of Japan and Lithuania to the United Nations delivered opening statements. Film director Cellin Gluck introduced the film and participated in a discussion with the audience. Mr. Maher Nasser, the Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Public Information, moderated the discussion.
Pictured, from left to right: Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the UN Department of Public Information; Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN; Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; Raimonda Murmokaité, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania to the UN; and Cellin Gluck, the film’s director.
"Woman in Gold"
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, in partnership with the World Jewish Congress and the Weinstein Company, organized the film screening and discussion that shed light on the loss of personal property and humiliation that Jewish families endured in Nazi-occupied Europe, and how difficult it has been for them to attain justice. It provide insight into the desperate situation faced by the victims of the Holocaust under a reign of terror and the complete breakdown of fair legal practice. For many families, the plunder of art and personal assets remains one of many unsolved transgressions committed by the Nazis. The screening took place on 28 January 2016 as part of a series of events marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January).
Directed by Simon Curtis, Woman in Gold is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during the Second World War, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish woman, starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt's famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle that takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the United States Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way.
Participants at the New York event included Ms. Cristina Gallach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; Mr. Simon Curtis, Director, Woman in Gold, Ms. Evelyn Sommer, Chair, World Jewish Congress, North America, Ms. Monica Dugot, International Director of Restitution, Christie’s, and Mr. Wesley A. Fisher, Director of Research, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. and Head of Claims Conference-WJRO Looted Art and Cultural Property Initiative.
“Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald”
This documentary film by director Rob Cohen focuses on the lives of four men, who were imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany, and return to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of their liberation in April 1945. The film lays out the story of the creation of the children’s block - block 66 - by the camp’s Communist-led underground. They worked to help protect the Jewish teenage boys who were arriving in large numbers in 1944 at the end of the Second World War. H.E. Mr. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, Mr. Maher Nasser, Acting Head, Department of Public Information, and the film’s executive producer, Mr. Steve Moskovic, spoke before the screening. A discussion with Mr. Rob Cohen, the film’s writer and director, and Holocaust survivor Mr. Alex Moskovic followed the documentary and was moderated by Ms. Kimberly Mann, Manager of The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.
Press Release: United Nations to Screen Holocaust Documentary on 28 January to Honour Survivors, Liberators (26 January 2015)
"Blinky & Me"
The screening is organized by the United Nations Holocaust Programme in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations. The screening took place on 29 January 2014 as part of a series of events marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January).
Group photo at the screening with animator Yoram Gross (centre) and film director Tomasz Magierski (left). Also pictured (from left): Kimberly Mann, Manager of The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme; Philippa Jane King, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN; and Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
This documentary film tells the life story of Yoram Gross, a Holocaust survivor and iconic Australian animator. Through discussions with his five grandchildren, Gross recounts his family’s experience in hiding and narrow escapes from the Nazis in Poland. The film follows the artist through his childhood there, to Israel and finally Australia where he settled with his wife to raise a family. His early work as an animator eventually led to the creation of the animated popular television series “The Adventures of Blinky Bill”, adapted from the children’s books by Dorothy Wall. In Mr. Gross’ animated series, many of Blinky’s encounters are based on Yoram’s own childhood experiences while running from the Nazis. This heart-warming film leads viewers to reflect on the human tragedy of the Holocaust, and the unrealized potential of those that were lost. H.E. Ms. Philippa Jane King, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, and Under-Secretary-General Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal opened the film. A discussion with filmmaker Tomasz Magierski and Yoram Gross followed the screening.
"Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust"
The screening was organized by the United Nations Holocaust Programme and took place on 7 November 2013 marking the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The film tells the little-known story of how President Quezon of the Philippines, along with a small group of influential Americans who were living in the Philippines in 1935, crafted a plan to rescue more than 1,000 European Jews. What started as regular poker matches with friends turned into a highly coordinated plan of rescue.
Barbara Sasser (left), co-Producer of the film speaks at the start of the screening. Also pictured: Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal (centre), Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; and Libran N. Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN. Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
The film tells the little-known story of how President Quezon of the Philippines, along with a small group of influential Americans who were living in the Philippines in 1935, crafted a plan to rescue more than 1,000 European Jews. What started as regular poker matches with friends turned into a highly coordinated plan of rescue. The screening followed by a panel discussion with historian Bonnie Gurewitsch of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Holocaust survivor Ursula Progl, whose family found refuge in the Philippines, and Executive Producer Russell C. Hodge.
Press Release: United Nations to Screen Documentary on Philippines’ Rescue of Jews during Holocaust, 7 November (31 October 2013)
The screening is organized by the United Nations Holocaust Programme in partnership with the United States Mission to the United Nations and the Sousa Mendes Foundation. The screening took place on 23 January 2013.
This documentary film by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Michael King chronicles the heroic efforts of a dozen diplomats who used the powers and privileges tied to their postings throughout Europe to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during the Second World War. These 12 individuals – from a Muslim Turk stationed in Greece to a Japanese envoy posted in Lithuania - took enormous personal risks to their lives and livelihoods to help others in dire circumstances. Michael King follows Sir Martin Gilbert, an eminent Holocaust historian who lost family members to the Holocaust, and Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist whose family was murdered during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as he interviews Holocaust survivors and descendants of the rescuers. Producer Joyce D. Mandell introduced the film. Michael King and Leon Moed, a Holocaust rescuee, took part in Q&A following the screening.
The UN Holocaust Programme partnered with the Permanent Missions of the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the United Nations for a special screening of the highly acclaimed film Nicky’s Family. The screening took place on 15 March 2012 at the Bohemian National Hall, a vital centre for Czech culture in New York City.
The film documents the story of Nicholas Winston (today 102 years old), an Englishman who organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children, nearly all Jewish, just before the outbreak of World War II. His exploits would have probably been forgotten if his wife, fifty years later, hadn't found a suitcase in the attic, full of documents and transport plans.
The opening remarks were delivered by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Ambassador Miloš Koterec, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the UN and Ambassador Edita Hrdá, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN. The film screening followed by a reception featuring performances by the famed Slovak jazz musician Ludmila Stefanikova and her band
"The Last Flight of Petr Ginz"
On 25 January 2012 the UN Department of Public Information organized a screening of a film “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”. It is a new animated documentary on the life and artwork of Petr Ginz, a Jewish boy from Prague who perished in the Holocaust at the age of 16, after spending two years in Terezin. He was a brilliant child who wrote a diary, four novels and created 200 illustrations and paintings during his short life.
The screening was held in partnership with the Documentary Film Program at Wake Forest University and the Documentary Institute at the University of Florida and the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations. The opening remarks were delivered by the Ambassador Edita Hrdá and Mr. Stephen Cypen, Executive Producer of the film.
The film followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers Ms. Sandra Disckson and Mr. Churchill Roberts, illustrator Mr. Cory Godbey, and Mr. Leo Lowy, a Holocaust survivor and a friend of Petr Ginz. A message from Chava Pressburger has been delivered by her son Yoram Pressburger.
The Q&A session was moderated by Ms. Kimberly Mann, Manager, the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme, Department of Public Information (DPI).
Leo Lowy (holding book), a Holocaust survivor and childhood friend of Petr Ginz,
speaks at a panel discussion. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
The UN Holocaust Outreach Programme has produced a 32-page study guide for students aged 13 and up that serves as a companion to this animated documentary film “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”.
Press Release: United Nations to Honour Child Holocaust Victims by Screening "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz" at Headquarters, 25 January (23 January 2012)
"The Relief of Belsen"
On 2 May 2011 the UN Department of Public Information in partnership with the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations organized screening of a film "The Relief of Belsen".
“The Relief of Belsen” brings to the screen the true story of the massive humanitarian relief effort by the British army in liberating Bergen Belsen concentration camp in April 1945. The camp, administered by the Nazis, became overwhelmed as Jewish and other prisoners evacuated from camps closer to the front continued to arrive. Thousands of Jews and other prisoners died of typhus and other causes in the camp, yet with help of British Medical Corps, many others survived.
The film, written by Justin Hardy and Peter Guinness and produced by Sue Horth, won the Broadcast Award for best single drama and was nominated for several prestigious awards, among them the British Academy award for specialist factual film-making, the Grierson award for best drama-documentary and the Royal Television Society award for Best history film.
The film followed by a Q&A session with Menachem Rosensaft, who was born in the Bergen Belsen DP camp and whose father headed both the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone of Germany and the Jewish Committee that administered the Bergen-Belsen DP camp; and Professor Atina Grossman, a historian and an expert on Bergen Belsen and the Holocaust in Germany.
The Q&A session was moderated by Ms. Kimberly Mann, Manager, the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme, Department of Public Information (DPI)
Press Release: United Nations to Mark Liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp with Film at Headquarters (25 April 2011)
"Daring to Resist"
On 25 January 2011 the UN Department of Public Information organized screening of a film "Daring to Resist". Distributed by Women Make Movies, the documentary film "Daring to Resist" features the stories of three young Jewish women who found unexpected ways to fight back against the Nazis during the Holocaust: one became a partisan, another shuttled Jews to safe houses and distributed resistance newspapers and a third smuggled Jews across the border. The screening was followed by a discussion with Mr. Frank Blaichman, former partisan, and Ms. Bonnie Gurewitsch, Archivist/ Curator, Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, NY.
Moderated by Ms. Kimberly Mann, Manager, the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme, Department of Public Information (DPI).
"Among the Righteous:
Lost Stories from the Holocaust in Arab Lands"
The United Nations Holocaust Programme and the New York Tolerance Center held the screening of a film on Arabs who saved Jews during the Holocaust on 24 May 2010 at the New York-based Simon Wiesenthal Tolerance Centre .
Based on the literary work of the same title written by Robert Satloff, this new documentary was made in partnership with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions and has aired on PBS Television. It retells largely forgotten stories from World War II in North Africa of Arabs who saved their Jewish neighbors from the Holocaust -- a story which Holocaust historiography has largely left untouched. The documentary digs into history to uncover not only cases of Jewish persecution in North Africa similar to the Jewish experience in Europe, but also stories of the "righteous" Arabs that protected Jews. Filmed in eight different countries stretching from Morocco to Israel, the documentary reveals surprising discoveries about the past that can help challenge how Arabs and Jews alike view this part of Holocaust history.
The event began with an introduction by the Officer-in-Charge for the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. Following the screening, a question and answer session was held with Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, moderated by Mark Weitzman, Director of the Task Force against Hate and Terrorism, Associate Director of Education for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) and Founding Director of the SWC’s New York Tolerance Center.
On Thursday 28 January 2010 the Department of Pubic Information organized a screening of “Defiance" cosponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations, to conclude the series of events held for the International Day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
"Defiance"* (2h 17min, Paramount Pictures) is a feature film about Jewish partisans battling the Nazis in Belarus, starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. It is based on a true story that was detailed in the book with the same name written by Holocaust scholar and survivor Nechama Tec. Director Edward Zwick is well-known for his epic films such as Blood Diamond and The Last Samurai. This screening has been made possible by Paramount Pictures.
*Please note that this film is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America and is not appropriate for young audiences.
Press Release: United Nations to Honour Legacy of Holocaust Survivors at New York Headquarters Memorial Ceremony, 27 January (20 January 2010)
"As Seen through These Eyes"
In observance of the anniversary of the Kristallnacht Pogrom of 9 November 1938, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme organized the screening of the documentary film, "As Seen through These Eyes", on Monday 9 November 2009 in the Trusteeship Council Chamber (UN HQ). A conversation with the film’s Director, Producer, Writer, Hilary Helstein, on learning about the Holocaust through art followed the screening.
Ms. Helstein travelled the world over the past decade to compile interviews with artists who have survived the Holocaust. Each conversation brings with it the realization that every painting or sketch on a torn scrap of paper is its own Holocaust diary. Their words and their images of the survivors are profoundly moving, communicating horror and hope artistically.
Narrated by Maya Angelou and produced in association with Sundance Channel, the film aims to combat prejudice, bigotry and intolerance. This screening was held in partnership with Menemsha Films.
On this occasion, the Department of Public Information has launched "The Holocaust and the United Nations Discussion Papers Journal". The publication, which includes a foreword by Under-Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka and nine papers drafted by experts on the Holocaust and prevention of genocide, provides a forum for individual scholars representing a variety of cultures and perspectives, to raise issues for debate and further study.
Press Release: United Nations to Screen Film on Holocaust Art on 9 November (2 November 2009)
The Department of Pubic Information held a screening of the documentary "Watermarks", on Thursday 29 January 2009 in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters.
"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. After the Anschluss, the political unification of Nazi Germany and Austria 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.
Director Yaron Zilberman made a brief statement to introduce the film.
Press release: United Nations to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January - Events include Memorial Ceremony, exhibits, film screening (26 January 2009)
The screening of Watermarks is courtesy of Kino International, Cinephil, Opening Night Productions, HBO and Arte.
“My Opposition: the Diaries of Friedrich Kellner”
70th Anniversary Observance of Kristallnacht
This 2007 documentary film narrates the story of former court official Friedrich Kellner, a political activist in the Third Reich who defied the Nazis by campaigning against them and later secretly documenting their atrocities in his diary, at the risk of his life. As a consequence, he was brought before a tribunal and threatened with imprisonment in a concentration camp. Today, his grandson Prof. Robert Scott Kellner, who discovered and translated the ten volume diaries, uses them to raise awareness on the dangers of totalitarian ideology. The documentary was also screened in the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.
Press release: UN DPI will hold panel discussion and film screening on 10 November to mark 70th Anniversary of Kristallnacht (31 October 2008)
UN News Article: UN Observes anniversary of Kristallnacht pogros against Jews (10 November 2008)
"Into the Arms of Strangers:
Stories of the Kindertransport"
The Department of Pubic Information held a screening of the documentary "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport", on Thursday, 31 January 2008 in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters. The event was hosted by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information and opening remarks were made by Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations, Her Excellency Karen Pierce.
The film’s producer Ms. Deborah Oppenheimer and David G. Marwell, Ph.D., Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, took part in a discussion after the film.
The film describes how for nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II, in an unprecedented act of mercy, Great Britain conducted an extraordinary rescue mission known as the Kindertransport. Ten thousand endangered children were transported from their homes in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland and placed into foster homes and hostels, expecting eventually to be reunited with their parents. The majority of the children never saw their families again.
Told in the words of the child survivors, rescuers, parents and foster parents and illustrated with rare archival footage and photographs, Into the Arms of Strangers recounts the remarkable story of this rescue operation and its dramatic impact on the lives of the children who were saved.
Official Movie website
"Steal a Pencil For Me"
The United Nations Department of Public Information and the Anne Frank Center USA jointly screened Steal a Pencil for Me, presented by Red Envelope Entertainment, in connection with the Holocaust and the United Nations outreach programme. The screening took place at 6 p.m. on Monday, 16 April 2007, at United Nations Headquarters in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium. Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division, Department of Public Information, made opening remarks, followed by Yvonne Simons, Executive Director, Anne Frank Center USA and Michèle Ohayon, filmmaker.
Press Release: UN DPI and Anne Frank Center USA to screen "Steal a Pencil For Me" on 16 April as part of the Holocaust Outreach Programme (11 April 2007)
"Spell Your Name"
In Russian, with English subtitles. Screened on 1 February 2007 at the Dag
Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, United Nations Headquarters.
Directed by Sergey Bukovsky and presented by Steven Spielberg, Victor Pinchuk and the Shoah Foundation for Visual History and Education at the University of Southern California, the movie follows a journey of discovery by Ukrainian students who absorb the testimony of local people who escaped brutal execution and those who rescued friends and neighbors during the Holocaust. A collection of men and women share the details of their experiences, and we are afforded a glimpse of modern day Ukraine: the ethnic stereotypes that continue to exist and the manner in which Post-Soviet society is dealing with the question of how to memorialize the sites where tens of thousands of Jewish families and others were executed and thrown into mass graves.
"I Only Wanted To Live"
In Italian, with English subtitles. Screened on 31 January 2007 at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, United Nations Headquarters.
Directed by Mimmo Calopresti and produced by the Shoah Foundation for Visual History and Education at the University of Southern California, the movie narrates the stories of nine Italian citizens who survive deportation and internment in the Auschwitz death camps. Nine stories through which we follow the most significant events of this harrowing experience: the enactment of the racial laws in Italy, the futile escape attempts, the deportation, the separation from other family members, the miraculous survival in Auschwitz, and liberation with the arrival of the allied soldiers.
The United Nations Department of Public Information and the New York Tolerance Center jointly screened on 19 July 2006 "The Pianist", the second movie in the film series launched in connection with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. The screening took place at 6 p.m. in the Tolerance Center.
Directed by the famous filmmaker Roman Polanski, the movie is based on the autobiography of Wladyslav Szpilman, a Polish Jew and a celebrated pianist and composer who, during the Nazi occupation, evaded deportation and remained in the ravaged Warsaw Ghetto. There, he fought to stay alive, even when separated from his loved ones, and confronted his fears with the aid from the unlikeliest source -- a Nazi officer who helped him hide during the final days of the war. "The Pianist" won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and Oscars for directing, acting (Adrien Brody) and adapted screenplay in the year 2002.
Press Release: UN DPI and New York Tolerance Center to screen "The Pianist" (12 July 2006)
"Sophie Scholl: The Final Days"
The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) and the New York Tolerance Center jointly launched a film series on 25 April 2006 (Yom Hashoah) in connection with the Holocaust and the United Nations outreach programme. Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division, DPI, and Mark Weitzman, Director of the New York Tolerance Center, made opening remarks.
The first screening was scheduled for 25 April at 6 p.m. in the Tolerance Center and featured the film "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days". The film is about the last six days in the life of Sophie Scholl who is caught by the Gestapo as a member of the German Nazi-resistance group, the White Rose, and is executed for “high treason” by the Nazis. The film won the prestigious Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film festival in 2005. As co-sponsor of this screening, Hans-Juergen Heimsoeth, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany based in New York, also made a brief statement.
Press Release: UNDPI and New York Tolerance Center to jointly host film series on Holocaust, prevention of genocide (19 May 2006)
The Holocaust and the United Nations and the United Nations Staff Recreation Council’s Film Society jointly hosted the screening of the movie "Fateless" on 24 Janaury 2006 in United Nations Headquarters in New York. Catherine Claxton, President of the United Nations Film Society, and Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division, introduced the film. The movie is based on the novel with the same name by Nobel Literature Laureate Imre Kertesz which follows a 14-year Jewish boy from Budapest to the Buchenwald concentration camp
Press release: United Nations to observe the first Universal Commemoration in Memory of the Holocaust victims (20 January 2006)