2007 Holocaust Remembrance Week

Calendar of Events | Secretary-General's Message | Statements | UNICs






Calendar of Events


"Right of the Disabled Community"


Monday, 29 January 2007

The United Nations Department of Public Information held the second annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust with a ceremony on in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters. Mr. Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, introduced a programme that began with a video message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonStatements were made by Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly, and Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. The keynote "Remembrance and Beyond" address was given by Madame Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor, President of the Fondation Pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, and a member of the Constitutional Council of France. In keeping with the theme of "Remembrance and Beyond", the observance focused on the importance of infusing today’s youth with the lessons of the Holocaust so that future generations may work to prevent hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice. Marie Noel, a student at the College of Saint Elizabeth, shared her experiences visiting former concentration camps in Poland.

The memorial ceremony also focused on the disabled community as one of the many victim groups of the Nazi regime. Thomas Schindlmayr, of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the importance of education in promoting tolerance and ending discrimination against all minorities, particularly in light of the adoption by the General Assembly on 13 December 2006 of the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

A musical performance was given by HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Chamber Choir, a project of the Zamir Choral Foundation, founded and directed by Matthew Lazar. Netanel Hershtik, cantor of the New York Synagogue, recited the Kaddish.

Book Launch

The same day, Daniel Mendelsohn, discussed and signed copies of his latest book, The Lost: A Search for Six of the Six Million. The United Nations Bookstore also made available 10 volumes of autobiographical accounts of Holocaust survivors published jointly by the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project and Yad Vashem -- the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority. An initiative of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project has, to date, collected over 900 manuscripts. Its mission is to provide both the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust with the dignity of a permanent historical presence, not as impersonal statistics but as individuals with names, voices and emotions.


Exhibition "The Holocaust against the Sinti and Roma and Present Day Racism in Europe"

Titled "The Holocaust against the Sinti and Roma and Present Day Racism in Europe", the exhibition focuses on the experience of the Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust.


Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Film Screening "Volevo solo Vivere"

The film, "Volevo solo Vivere" (I Only Wanted to Live), directed by Mimmo Calopresti, tells the moving story of nine Italian survivors of Auschwitz.


Thursday, 1 February 2007

Film screening Nazvy svoie im'ia (Spell Your Name)

Directed by Serhiy Bukovsky, the film focuses on the Holocaust in Ukraine, and tells the story of local people who escaped brutal execution and those who rescued friends and neighbours during the Holocaust. The film was produced by USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, were shown in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.


Friday, 2 February 2007



International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s “Partners of Hope” Concert at Carnegie Hall

“Honoring Bravery and Humanitarianism: Stories of Rescue During the Holocaust”

The Department of Public Information’s Holocaust and the United Nations outreach programme collaborated with the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation on the “Partners of Hope” concert at Carnegie Hall on 5 February 2007 at 8:00 p.m. This concert, held in connection with the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Week, recognized those who displayed extraordinary courage to save Jews from genocide during World War II. Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, read an excerpt from documentation that highlights the actions taken by the then National Assembly of Bulgaria to prevent the deportation of Bulgarian Jews.

In the darkness of the Holocaust, extraordinary acts of bravery and humanitarianism shed occasional rays of hope on the lives of European Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis. One of the most remarkable stories is the rescue of the entire Jewish population of Bulgaria. In 1943, as the Nazi reign of terror spread and Jews throughout Europe were subjected to deportation and murder in the camps, Bulgaria's Jews were to suffer the same fate. But by persistence and determination, 48,000 Bulgarian Jews were rescued from certain death. Bulgaria was the only country Hitler had controlled with more Jews living in it when the war ended than before the war had begun.

The Holocaust and the United Nations outreach programme, established under United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7, and the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation share a common mission to promote education and public awareness to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust – those both of tragedy and of heroism – are passed on to future generations.

Among many other notables taking part in the programme who read excerpts on rescuers is Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations who read biographical excerpts on the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.

The programme also featured the Westfield Symphony Orchestra conduced by David Wroe who presented the world premier of the poetry of Hyam Plutzik (1911-1962) which deals extensively with Jewish themes, antisemitism and humanism set to music by Robert Cohen. The evening’s repertoire also included Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550, excerpts from Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme Puccini and Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor sung by Bulgarian soprano Anna Veleva and selected songs by Israeli singer David Broza.

Holocaust survivors, middle and high school students were offered tickets free of charge. The full concert programme is available at: http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/especial/partnersofhope.htm.

For more information, please visit www.irwf.org, write to the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation at irwf@irwf.org.


Secretary-General's Message

on The International Day of Commemoration

in memory of the victims of the Holocaust


The Holocaust was a unique and undeniable tragedy. Decades later, the systematic murder of millions of Jews and others retains its power to shock. The ability of the Nazis to command a following, despite their utter depravity, still strikes fear. And above all, the pain remains: for ageing survivors, and for all of us as a human family that witnessed a descent into barbarism.

The work of remembrance pays tribute to those who perished. But it also plays a vital role in our efforts to stem the tide of human cruelty. It keeps us vigilant for new outbreaks of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. And it is an essential response to those misguided individuals who claim that the Holocaust never happened, or has been exaggerated.

The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights. That cause was brutally desecrated at Auschwitz, and by genocides and atrocities since.

We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples must enjoy the protections and rights for which the United Nations stands.

On this International Day, I reiterate my strong commitment to that mission, and call on all to join in our common quest for human dignity.

Ban Ki-moon





Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information

Statement by H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement by H.E. Mr. Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations

Keynote address by Madame Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor, President of the Fondation Pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, and a member of the Constitutional Council of France

Remarks by Thomas Schindlmayr, the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

Remarks by Ms. Marie Mirlande Noel, student of the College of St. Elizabeth, New Jersey



2007 Holocaust Remembrance Activities Around The World


The global network of United Nations information centres (UNICs), United Nations Information Service (UNIS) and United Nations Offices observed the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in 2007 in partnership with civil society groups and Government representatives.

Memorial ceremonies 

Solemn ceremonies were organized in Asmara (in cooperation with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea), Asunción, Baku, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Lima, Moscow, Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Washington, D.C. and Yerevan. One of the larger ceremonies was held at UNIS Geneva, which included statements by a Holocaust scholar, a survivor and two young volunteers from the International Youth Meeting Centre at Auschwitz.


Educational activities 

UNIC Moscow, in partnership with the Holocaust Educational Centre, hosted a group of high school educators and non-governmental organization activists at the UNIC library to brief them on the significance of Holocaust Remembrance Day. UNIC Prague, in cooperation with the Jewish Museum, organized seven workshops in which high school students interacted with Holocaust survivors. UNIC Warsaw, along with the Shalom Foundation and Teachers Education Centre, organized a poster competition for high school students. The United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) Brussels and the Portuguese Youth Institute produced a Holocaust remembrance video that was shown on the Lisbon Portuguese Youth Institute in-house television network and was shared with other United Nations offices in Lusophone countries.


A week-long exhibition of 60 panels of photographs was mounted at UNIC Nairobi and two exhibitions, including on the theme “No Child’s Play”, from Yad Vashem, and paintings from the series “Art Against Oblivion” by a Holocaust survivor, were displayed at UNIS Vienna.                     


Media outreach 

The information centres translated the message of the Secretary-General into local languages, including Azeri, Danish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish and Ukrainian. Media outreach by the field offices yielded articles and/or radio interviews in the local press in Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Japan, Kenya, Paraguay, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States of America and Zimbabwe. In addition, many information centres created special features on their websites, including UNICs Buenos Aires and Prague, and UNRIC Brussels, as well as UNISs Geneva and Vienna, and the United Nations office in Ukraine. UNIS Bangkok provided the commemorative DVD of the programme to ASTV News1, which was broadcast during the month of February.