UNITED NATIONS TO OBSERVE HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 27 JANUARY; EVENTS INCLUDE MEMORIAL CEREMONY, EXHIBITS, FILM SCREENING

26 January 2009
OBV/763

UNITED NATIONS TO OBSERVE HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 27 JANUARY; EVENTS INCLUDE MEMORIAL CEREMONY, EXHIBITS, FILM SCREENING

26 January 2009
Press Release
OBV/763
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

UNITED NATIONS TO OBSERVE HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 27 JANUARY;

 

EVENTS INCLUDE MEMORIAL CEREMONY, EXHIBITS, FILM SCREENING

 

On 27 January, the United Nations will observe the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust with a ceremony from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber at New York Headquarters.  The observance will honour the 6 million Jews and countless numbers of minorities who suffered discrimination, deprivation and murder during the Nazi regime.

This year, the theme of the memorial ceremony is “An Authentic Basis for Hope:  Holocaust Remembrance and Education”, in reference to the new initiatives in the development of national Holocaust curricula and cooperative projects that are helping to promote human rights and respect for diversity around the world.  “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,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the International Day.

The keynote speaker at the memorial ceremony at United Nations Headquarters will be Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council.  Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, Israel.  Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will open the event.  Statements will be made by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the sixty-third session of the United Nations General Assembly, and Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.  Ruth Glasberg Gold, a survivor of the Transnistria camps, and Leonid Rozenberg, a veteran of the former Soviet army during the Second World War, will share their personal stories.  Cantor Ya'akov Motzen will recite memorial prayers “Kel Ma'le Rachamim” and “Ani Ma'amin”.  The ceremony will also include musical performances by Elisha Abas on piano and Yoon Kwon on violin.

The exhibition “Deadly Medicine:  Creating the Master Race” will be on display at United Nations Headquarters through 22 March.  Produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this exhibition examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder and, ultimately, genocide.  The aim was to change the genetic make-up of the population through measures known as “racial hygiene” or “eugenics".  For more information please visit http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/deadlymedicine

Yad Vashem's Holocaust Survivor's Memoirs Project will be profiled at the United Nations Bookshop on Wednesday, 28 January.  (http://www1.yadvashem.org/research_publications/publications/The_Holocaust_Survivors_Memoirs_Project/home_the_holocaust_survivors_memoirs.html

The Department of Public Information will also hold a non-governmental organizations briefing on “The Sephardic Jews in Greece: the Untold Story”, the morning of 29 January.  That evening, there will be a screening of the documentary Watermarks, showcasing the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah, which was located in Vienna, Austria.  The screening is courtesy of Kino International, Cinephil, Opening Night Productions, HBO and Arte.  Several other events will be organized by the Department’s partners -- a schedule of these activities follows below.

Plans for Holocaust remembrance activities are under way in all regions of the world, including in Africa, where five of the United Nations information centres, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Dakar, Lomé and Yaoundé, and the communications office of the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda, participated on 26 January with a group of students in an educational video conference organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Le Mémorial de la Shoah.

In the Americas, UNIC Mexico City will join with B’nai B’rith and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present an exhibit of drawings and photos of women and children of the Holocaust at the Jewish Cultural Centre.

In Asia-Pacific, UNIC Tokyo will profile Hana’s Suitcase, the non-fiction children’s book by Karen Levine about Hana Brady, a child who perished in Auschwitz at age 13. 

In Europe, UNIS Geneva will mount two exhibits and hold a memorial ceremony with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations Office at Geneva that will emphasize Holocaust education and the importance of involving youth in remembrance activities. 

In Eastern Europe, the Department’s Information Component in the United Nations Office in Azerbaijan has arranged for the production of subtitles in Azeri and a screening of the Academy Award winning documentary Kindertransport: Into the Arms of Strangers.

For media accreditation, please visit www.un.org/media/accreditation.  Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel: +1 212 963 6937, fax: +1 212 963 4642.

All guests must pre-register for the events as indicated on the following schedule of events.  Non-United Nations pass holders attending the memorial ceremony must pass through security at the visitors’ entrance on 1st Avenue and 46th Street, beginning at 8 a.m. and photo identification is required.  Seating is on a first come, first served basis, and once capacity has been reached in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, guests will view the ceremony on video screen in conference room 4.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information, was established under General Assembly resolution 60/7 to encourage Holocaust education and remembrance in order to help prevent future acts of genocide.  For more information, please contact holocaustremembrance@un.org, or visit www.un.org/holocaustremembrance.

2009 Holocaust Remembrance Calendar of Events

Monday, 26 January

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.:  Video conference with five francophone United Nations Information Centres (Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Dakar, Lomé, Yaoundé), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Kigali, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme (New York Headquarters), Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris) at UNESCO, Paris.  Students from countries in Africa will hear the testimony of a Holocaust survivor in Paris and will be able to ask him questions about his personal experience.  Contact: prudhommem@un.org.

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.  Venue:  227 E. 52nd Street.

“Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race”.  Produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this exhibition examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder and, ultimately, genocide.  The aim was to change the genetic make-up of the population through measures known as “racial hygiene” or “eugenics”.  Open to public from 26 January through 22 March.  For information, please contact wichmann@un.org.  Venue: United Nations Public Lobby at visitors' entrance 1st Avenue and 46th Street.

Tuesday, 27 January

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.:  Memorial Ceremony -- “An Authentic Basis for Hope: Holocaust Remembrance and Education”, with keynote speaker Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chairman of Yad Vashem Council.  Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, Israel.  Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will open the event.  Statements will be made by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the sixty-third session of the United Nations General Assembly, and Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.  Ruth Glasberg Gold, a survivor of the Transnistria camps, and Leonid Rozenberg, a veteran of the former Soviet army during the Second World War, will share their personal stories.  Cantor Ya'akov Motzen will recite memorial prayers "Kel Ma'le Rachamim" and "Ani Ma'amin".  The ceremony will also include musical performances by Elisha Abas on piano and Yoon Kwon on violin.  Please register at holocaustremembrance@un.org or by fax; +1 212 963 0536, seating first come, first served.  Venue: Trusteeship Council Chamber (Overflow Room Conference Room 4).

1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m.:  Panel discussion -- “The Holocaust-The Rescued and the Rescuers”, with Kurt and Margarete Goldberger, survivors; Rachel Ostreicher Bernheim, Chair/CEO of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States; and Paul Shapiro, Director of the Centre for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Sponsored by B’nai B’rith International and the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations.  Please register at rsvpun@bnaibrith.org or by tel: +1 212 557 0019.  Venue: Conference Room 5.

5 p.m. – 7 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 12 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.  Please register with Ms. Millie Meyers at meyersm@state.gov, or by tel: +1 212 415 4085.  Venue: Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.

Wednesday, 28 January

1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.:  Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project Book Signing.  Frances Irwin will present and sign copies of her memoir included in the volume titled Stolen Youth: Five Women's Survival in the Holocaust at the United Nations Book Shop.  Volumes from the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project are on display in the Public Lobby and for sale in the Book Shop.  Jeannie Rosensaft, one of the editors of the memoirs, will discuss the Project, which is an initiative of 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 11 books with 17 survivors' memoirs to date.   For information, please contact holocaustremembrance@un.org.  Venue: United Nations Bookshop (1st basement, visitors’ entrance).  Open to the public.

Thursday, 29 January

10:15 a.m. – 1 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 per cent of its Jews in the Holocaust.  Today, only some 1,200 remain and their story is little known.  The briefing focuses on their story and feature personal accounts of some of those who survived the Holocaust in Thessaloniki.  Non-United Nations pass holders will need to contact HU2@un.org.  Venue: Conference Room 1.

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.:  Film Screening of the documentary Watermarks, 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 arranges for the swimmers reunite in their old swimming pool in Vienna, a journey that evokes memories of youth, femininity and strengthens lifelong bonds.  Please register at holocaustremembrance@un.org, or by fax: +1 212 963 0536 by 27 January.  Venue: Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.