|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Note to Correspondents
Department of Public Information Launches ‘Electronic Notes for Speakers’ Website
on Holocaust Remembrance Day, 29 January
Primary Source Materials and Briefing Notes to Enhance Understanding of Holocaust
On the occasion of the second annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust on 29 January, the United Nations Department of Public Information is launching today an online web resource for educators and United Nations Member States to assist them in developing educational programmes on the lessons of the Holocaust.
The Electronic Notes for Speakers, available at www.un.org/holocaustremembrance, have been prepared in collaboration with Yad Vashem — the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem; the Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education at the University of Southern California; and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, which developed the French version of the website.
Electronic Notes for Speakers contains detailed information, interactive maps, timelines and histories under headings such as “Life Before the War”, “Life in the Ghettos”, “Life in the Camps” and “Hiding and Rescue”, each offering different but connected portraits of the Holocaust. The pages in English contain primary source material from Yad Vashem. Each segment is introduced by the moving video testimony of a survivor, from the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute’s archive.
The Notes are part of a wider “Holocaust and the United Nations” outreach programme that was established under General Assembly resolution 60/7, which specifically “urges Member States to develop educational programmes that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust”.
The pages compiled by the Mémorial de la Shoah bring together a wide range of resources in French on the history of the Jews of Europe and more specially the Jews of France in the twentieth century. Besides a general overview of the Holocaust, they deal with various subjects such as the “Final Solution” or “the Righteous Among the Nations” in France. They include photographs, video testimonies, historical maps, and detailed presentations.
“The Electronic Notes for Speakers website is an excellent pedagogical tool not only for use by United Nations Member States, for whom it has been established, but also by interested partners around the world, including students, teachers and United Nations Information Centres staff, to develop presentations on the Holocaust,” said Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “The breadth of material on this website, including the moving personal testimonies of survivors, serves as a vivid reminder and will make the lessons of the Holocaust so much more than an intellectual exercise.”
Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate commended the project: “Now more than ever, particularly in light of recent events, it is vital to make credible, accurate information about the Holocaust widely available. This special website brings over 50 years of material and information from Yad Vashem’s extensive archives and libraries, as well as its vast research and educational experience, into one user-friendly and comprehensive site. I am confident that the website will be an invaluable asset for anyone interested in learning more about the Holocaust and its legacy.”
The three institutions that collaborated with Department of Public Information on the Electronic Notes are leaders in the field of Holocaust education.
Yad Vashem (www.yadvashem.org) is a top institution in Holocaust education, commemoration, research and documentation and imparts the legacy of the Holocaust through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations. Drawing on the memories of the past, Yad Vashem aims to strengthen commitment to Jewish continuity and protect basic human values.
The University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education (www.usc.edu/vhi) is a non-profit organization established to collect and preserve the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. With nearly 52,000 testimonies on videotape from 56 countries and in 32 languages, the Shoah Foundation Institute seeks to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry -- and the suffering they cause -- through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies.
“We are pleased to support the efforts of the United Nations Department of Public Information as they launch this valuable resource,” said Douglas Greenberg, University of Southern California history professor and Institute Executive Director. “The Electronic Notes for Speakers website will provide Member States and United Nations’ partners information from which they can create powerful educational materials about the Holocaust and its relevance today. Together with Yad Vashem’s interactive maps, photographs, and detailed histories, the survivor and witness testimonies from the Institute’s archive available on this new website are powerful tools in teaching students about the dangers of prejudice and racism.”
The Shoah Memorial in Paris, which was re-opened to the public on 27 January 2005, is the largest research, information and awareness-raising centre in Europe on the unprecedented history of the genocide of the Jews during the Second World War. This museum, documentation centre and place of remembrance, is intended as a historical instrument for the transmission of knowledge on the Shoah.
Jacques Fredj, Director of the Mémorial de la Shoah, said, “The Mémorial de la Shoah is very pleased and proud to present the Electronic Notes for Speakers website that we created for the United Nations Department of Public Information, as we share the same mission -- to facilitate Holocaust education and help people everywhere understanding why the Holocaust is relevant today.”
For more information, please contact: Kimberly Mann, Department of Public Information, “Holocaust and the United Nations” outreach programme, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 1 212 963 0536.
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