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United Nations Department of Global Communications

2020 Holocaust Remembrance Calendar of Events

“75 years after Auschwitz -
Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice”

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ending of the Second World War, and the ending of the Holocaust. 2020 also marks the establishment of the United Nations, formed in response to atrocity crimes of the Holocaust and the Second World War, with the aim of building a world that is just and peaceful. Acknowledging the milestone year, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has chosen as the theme for Holocaust education and remembrance in 2020, "75 years after Auschwitz - Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice". The theme reflects the continued importance, 75 years after the Holocaust, of collective action against antisemitism and other forms of bias to ensure respect for the dignity and human rights of all people everywhere.


Monday, 27 January 2020

  • United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

    Venue: General Assembly Hall
    Time: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    The ceremony, taking place 75 years to the day of the liberation by the Soviet forces of Auschwitz Birkenau Nazi German concentration and extermination camp (1940-1945), was hosted by Ms. Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. The event included remarks by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the President of the seventy-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Permanent Representatives of Germany, Israel, Russia and the United States to the United Nations, and Mr. Dan Pavel Doghi, Chief of the CPRSI, Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues, OSCE/ODIHR. Holocaust survivors Mr. Shraga Milstein and Ms. Irene Shashar shared their testimonies. Judge Theodor Meron, who served as the President of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, delivered the keynote speech. Rabbi Arthur Schneier recited the Kaddish and Cantor Shulem Lemmer the memorial prayers. Mr. Itzhak Perlman delivered a musical contribution.

  • Exhibition "Seeing Auschwitz"

    Venue: United Nations Visitors Lobby
    Time: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    The exhibition Seeing Auschwitz challenges the viewer’s understanding of the largest killing centre in human history. How Auschwitz is ‘seen’ is informed by a relatively small number of photographs taken from an even smaller number of sources. Together, the pictures are vital evidence of the Nazis’ crimes. Through a display of photographs taken by perpetrators and in one instance, by the victims themselves, the exhibition encourages the viewer to explore more fully what the photographs reveal about the photographers, and their intentions, and how this informs the viewers’ understanding of the meaning of “Auschwitz”. The exhibition was created and curated by Musealia, Spain, in collaboration with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland. The exhibition will be on view until 24 February 2020.

    Photo: The Auschwitz Mugshots. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

  • Recital by Pianist Ms. Renan Koen

    Venue: ECOSOC Chamber
    Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    The Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations hosted a side event on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day during which Turkish Pianist Ms. Renan Koen gave a piano recital. Renan Koen, is an international pianist, known for her efforts to publish the life-stories, ideals and works of composers who continued to create notwithstanding the prohibitions imposed on them while being imprisoned in concentration camps during the Second World War. She has given many recitals in Holocaust Remembrance events all around the world.

  • Panel Discussion "Safe Haven: Jewish Refugees in the Philippines"

    Venue: Conference Room 4, UNHQ
    Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
    Contact: rsvpun@bnaibrith.org

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    B’nai B’rith International and the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in cooperation with the US-Philippines Society, hosted a program on Jewish refugees who fled Europe and found safe haven in the Philippines before World War II. Guest speakers discussed Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon’s “Open Door Policy” in 1938.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

  • Exhibition "Crimes Uncovered: The First Generation of Holocaust Researchers"

    Venue: United Nations Visitors Lobby
    Time: 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    This exhibition examines Jewish historians and academics of various nationalities and backgrounds who documented and safeguarded evidence of the actions taken against the Jewish people during the Holocaust and lobbied to draw attention to what was happening in Nazi-occupied Europe. By so doing, these historians and academics resisted the Nazi plan to destroy all Jewish people and culture and pioneered the establishment of an international legal framework accompanying the establishment of the United Nations. The first generation of Holocaust researchers shaped the foundation of our current knowledge of the Holocaust. The exhibition was curated by the Memorial and Educational Site House of the Wannsee-Conference in Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin branch of the Touro College and the Wiener Library in London. It has been sponsored by the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. The exhibition will be on view until 24 February 2020.

    Photo: Eva Reichmann, Wiener Library Head of Research, 1950s. Wiener Library Collections

  • Exhibit "Lonka Project"

    Venue: 1B Corridor, United Nations
    Time: 3:00 p.m.

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    The Lonka Project is a photographic tribute to the last Holocaust survivors with us today. Throughout 2019 some 250 of the world's leading professional photographers, in some 24 countries, generously contributed their time and talent, each capturing a Holocaust survivor in the context that makes a unique and memorable statement about their lives. The exhibit will be on view from 27 January 2020 until 7 February 2020, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

  • Exhibition "Some were Neighbours: Choice, Human Behaviour, and the Holocaust"

    Venue: United Nations Visitors Lobby
    Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    The exhibition Some were Neighbours addresses one of the central questions of the Holocaust: how did it happen? The exhibition examines the role of ordinary people in the Holocaust, and the variety of motives that influenced individual choices. These influences often reflect fear, indifference, antisemitism, career concerns, community standing, peer pressure, or chances for material gain. The exhibition considers individuals who did not give in to the opportunities and temptations to betray their fellow human beings, reminding us that there is an alternative to complicity in evil acts - even in extraordinary times. The exhibition was created and curated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The exhibition will be on view until 24 February 2020.

    Photo credit: Stadtarchiv Kerpen

Thursday, 30 January 2020

  • United Nations Civil Society Briefing
    "Hate speech, Holocaust denial and distortion: why challenging it matters"

    Venue: Conference Room 2, United Nations HQ
    Time: 11:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
    Contact: HolocaustRemembrance@un.org

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    Holocaust denial and distortion dismisses the irrefutable and established facts that the Holocaust happened and belittles the suffering of the victims and survivors of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis and their accomplices. Denial and distortion of history is an important tool in the arsenal of hate speech. Hate speech encourages the dehumanization of individuals and groups and is used to justify discrimination and other acts of violence. 2020 marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War, and the Holocaust, yet antisemitism continues to occur. This briefing will provide an historical overview of Holocaust denial and distortion, will explore measures being taken to identify and counter denial, distortion, and hate speech, and why this matters. The panellists include Ms. Simona Cruciani, United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of the Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center; Mr. Tad Stahnke, Director of International Outreach, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; and Dr. Sara Brown – The Centre for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education. The discussion will be moderated by the Ms. Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

  • Book Signing "Renia's Diary: A Holocaust Journal"

    Venue: United Nations Bookshop
    Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    A conversation with the Renia’s younger sister, Holocaust survivor, Elizabeth Bellak and Elizabeth’s daughter, Alexandra. The event will be moderated by journalist, Robin Shulman.

    Renia’s Diary: A Holocaust Journal (St. Martin’s Press) Renia Spiegel was born to a Jewish family in Poland in 1924. She began her diary at the start of 1939, right before the invasion of Poland by the German army. In 1942, she was forced to move to the Przemysl ghetto, but was smuggled out by her boyfriend Zygmunt and went into hiding with his parents. She was discovered by the Gestapo and murdered on 30July 1942. Zygmunt survived to complete her diary with the account of their death.

  • Film Screening "The Accountant of Auschwitz"

    Venue: German House (871 United Nations Plaza)
    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

    Contact: HolocaustRemembrance@un.org

    Registration for this event is now closed.

    Accountant of Auschwitz follows the trial of Oskar Gröning, who was charged with being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz. During the Holocaust, Gröning had recorded and tallied the cash and personal valuables seized from Jews arriving at the camp. The trial began in 2015 when Gröning was 93. The Accountant of Auschwitz traces the history leading to Gröning’s trial and the race against time to bring to justice last living Nazis. Directed by Matthew Shoychet, and produced by Ricki Gurwitz and Ric Esther Bienstock, the documentary weaves archival footage, contemporary trial coverage, and interviews with survivors and human rights advocates to offer compelling investigations of history, conscience, and justice. The screening followed by a Q&A session with Ricki Gurwitz, Ric Esther Bienstock and Thomas Walther.