2011 Holocaust Remembrance Week

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





Calendar of Events

Mon, 24 Jan | Tue, 25 Jan | Mon, 31 Jan | Thu, 10 Feb


"Women and the Holocaust: Courage and Compassion"

This year the United Nations honoured the courage of women during the Holocaust, which continues to inspire and empower women today. On the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the Holocaust Programme organized a series of events on the week of 24 January 2011 at United Nations Headquarters. United Nations Information Centres around the world also organized memorial ceremonies and educational activities.


Monday, 24 January 2011

Exhibition "The Memories Live On" 

The exhibition "The Memories Live On" presents drawings of Auschwitz made by an unknown prisoner of the concentration and death camp and focuses on the legacy of the survivors to young people.  This exhibition is sponsored by the International Auschwitz Committee in Germany, the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the International Youth Meeting Centre Oswiecim/Auschwitz in Poland, the Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand in Germany and the United States Mission to the United Nations. The exhibition was on display until 28 February 2011. Speakers at the exhibition opening included H.E. Mr. Peter Wittig, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, Mr. Roman Kent, Holocaust Survivor, Ms. Ilona Hefft, Trainee, Volkswagen Coaching, Emden/Wolfsburg and Mr. Marian Turski, Holocaust Survivor.

Exhibition "Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life"

Curated by the Mémorial de la Shoah in France, was on display until 28 February 2011. Through excerpts of the journal kept by this young Jewish woman, this exhibition documents the persecution of Jews in Occupied France during the Second World War.  Hélène Berr died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Film Screening “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, NYC. Download the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation Study Guide "Frank Blaichman: Jewish Partisan Platoon Commander".


Monday, 31 January 2011

UN DPI NGO Briefing “Unexpected Saviours: The Role of Turkey in Assisting Victims during the Holocaust”

The briefing highlighted the little known history of the role of Turkish diplomats and consuls in the rescue of Jewish people during the Holocaust. In addition to the presentations and a Q&A session, excerpts from the documentary entitled “Desperate Hours” were screened. The event also paid tribute to the memory of women who were murdered during the Holocaust. Panellists included H.E. Mr. Ertuğrul Apakan, the Ambassador of Turkey to the United Nations, Dr. Arnold Reisman, Professor Emeritus of Case Western Reserve University, an engineer, scholar and author, Ms. Arielle Evans, Tufts University student, KIVUNIM graduate. The event was moderated by María Luisa Chávez, Chief, NGO Relations, Department of Public Information.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered opening remarks. Statements were also made by H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the 65th Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Ehud Barak, Minister of Defence of the State of Israel, and H.E. Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Permanent  Representative to the United Nations. The keynote speech was delivered by Professor Lenore Weitzman, Professor Emeritus, George Mason University and Mrs. Nesse Godin, Holocaust Survivor (Lithuania) has shared her testimony (it was delivered by Mrs. Vivian Bernstein, a child of Holocaust survivors). Cantor Yaakov Lemmer, Chief Cantor, Congregation Anshe Shalom, New Rochelle, NY, recited memorial prayers. Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information hosted the event. He has also launched the Holocaust Programme's new study guide and DVD for high school students. With the participation of students from the UN International School.

Roundtable Discussion: “A World Without Nazism - a Global Goal for Humanity Today and the 65th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials”

Organized by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, The Department of Public Information, the International Human Rights Movement “World Without Nazism”, and the American Forum of Russian Jewry.


Secretary-General's Message 

on The International Day of Commemoration 

in memory of the victims of The Holocaust


Each year, the international community unites in memory of the Holocaust and reflects on the lessons that we all must heed. It is a vitally important annual observance.

On the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and most notorious of the Nazi death camps, we remember the millions of Jews, as well as the prisoners of war, political dissidents, and members of minority groups, such as the Roma and Sinti, homosexuals and disabled people, who were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their sympathisers.

This year, we pay special tribute to the women who suffered in the Holocaust.  Mothers and daughters, grandmothers, sisters and aunts, they saw their lives irrevocably changed, their families separated and their traditions shattered.  Yet, despite appalling acts of discrimination, deprivation and cruelty, they consistently found ways to fight back against their persecutors.

They joined the resistance, rescued those in peril, smuggled food into ghettos and made wrenching sacrifices to keep their children alive.  Their courage continues to inspire.  On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us honour these women and their legacy.  Let us pledge to create a world where such atrocities can never be repeated.

We are all aware that such a future has yet to arrive.  Everywhere in our world, women and girls continue to endure violence, abuse and discrimination.  The United Nations is fully committed to promoting and protecting their fundamental human rights.  By empowering women we empower all of society.

Families should never again have to endure the kind of evil seen during the Holocaust.  Only by working together can we prevent genocide and end impunity.  By educating new generations about this terrible episode of our history, we can help to uphold human dignity for all.


H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon,
The Secretary-General of United Nations





Statement by H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ehud Barak, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense

Statement by H.E. Ms. Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Remarks by Professor Lenore J. Weitzman, Professor Emeritus, George Mason University, Keynote Speaker

Remarks by Mrs. Nesse Godin, Holocaust Survivor [Delivered by Mrs. Vivian Bernstein, a child of Holocaust survivors] 

Remarks by Ms. Bonnie Gurewitsch, Screening of the film "Daring to Resist", 25 January 2011

Remarks by Mr. Frank Blaichman, Screening of the film "Daring to Resist", 25 January 2011

Message from Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO


Media Coverage


Exhibition on the Holocaust to Open at United Nations Headquarters

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Secretary-General Issues Call to Honour Women Who Consistently Found Ways to Fight Back against Persecutors

Deputy Secretary-General, at Auschwitz-Birkenau Holocaust Commemoration, Tells of United Nations Efforts to Promote Tolerance, Combat Hatred

United Nations Secretary-General to Honour Courage, Ingenuity of Women Who Braved Nazi Persecution during Holocaust

UN marks Holocaust Memorial Day with exhibitions and pledges of 'never again'

Combating Holocaust denial, UN leads delegation to Auschwitz camp

At special ceremony, UN pays tribute to victims of Holocaust

Holocaust victims remembered 

In annual Holocaust observance, UN pays special tribute to women who braved persecution 



2011 Holocaust Remembrance Activities Around The World


The global network of United Nations Information Centres (UNICs), United Nations Information Service (UNIS) and United Nations Offices (UNO) observed the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in partnership with civil society groups and Government representatives. Thirty UNICs organized 78 activities, including film screenings, ceremonies, briefings, Seminars, educational outreach activities and more.

Memorial Ceremonies


Solemn ceremonies were held in Almaty, Asunción, Baku, Brazzaville, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, Bujumbura, Canberra, Cape Town, Dhaka, Durban, Geneva, Johannesburg, Lima, Manila, Mexico City, Minsk, Nairobi, Panama City, Prague, Pretoria, Yangon and Yaoundé.

The audiences at these events consisted of representatives of governments, civil society, non-governmental organizations, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the Jewish community, Holocaust survivors, students, scholars, and representatives of UN agencies.

Several of these events were organized at the highest level of Government. The First Lady of the Republic of Panamá, Marta Linares de Martinelli, and the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Priscilla de Miro, participated in the memorial event organized by UNIC Panama City at the Senate building. The ceremony was televised nationwide. The Israeli, German and French Ambassadors to Myanmar participated in the ceremony organized by UNIC Yangon.

UNIS Geneva organized a concert and memorial ceremony with the support of the Permanent Missions of Germany, Israel, Poland and Switzerland. More than 1,000 representatives of permanent missions, NGOs, staff, and the Geneva international community attended the concert by the German Radio Orchestra, the Bayreuth Zamir Choir and the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir under the direction of Maestro Isaak Tavior.

Senior representatives of UNICs Panama City, Pretoria, Buenos Aires, Canberra and Warsaw participated in commemorative ceremonies organized by governments and non-governmental organizations.

UNIC Brazzaville organized an educational briefing to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. A female Sociologist and researcher at Marien Ngouabi University delivered the keynote statement, which was followed by a lively discussion and screening of Holocaust women survivors' testimonials featured in the “Women and the Holocaust” DVD produced by the UN’s Holocaust Programme.

The Cape Town Holocaust Centre hosted this year’s commemoration at which UNIC Pretoria’s Director, Ms. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, delivered the keynote address as well as the message of the Secretary-General.  She spoke of the work of DPI in highlighting the International Holocaust Day and the lessons learned from the Holocaust.  Among the participants were members of the local Jewish community, survivors of the Holocaust and the Rwanda genocide, as well as school pupils.  In Johannesburg, UNIC Pretoria also partnered with the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre and the Museum Africa in holding a half-day educational programme on the Holocaust. Ninth-grade students, who are studying the Holocaust, from 10 different Johannesburg schools were invited to a film screening of the documentary "Daring to Resist", exhibition viewing and open discussion.  And in Durban, the newly-launched Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre hosted a commemorative ceremony to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, which included an address by UNIC Pretoria’s Deputy Director of UNIC Pretoria and a short play on the Holocaust.

UNIC Lima participated in the ceremony held at the Peruvian Congress on the occasion of the International Day in coordination with the Jewish Association of Peru. The Secretary-General's message was read before an audience consisting of Government and Congress officials, the diplomatic corps, members of the Jewish Association and NGOs, and the public at large.

UNO Belarus’ commemorative ceremony took place at the National Museum of the Great Patriotic War. The event was organized jointly by the UN office (UNO) and the Belarusian National Fund “Holocaust”. The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Antonius Broek, Israeli Ambassador to Belarus Edward Shapiro and representative of the US Embassy in Belarus Anton Cooper spoke at the ceremony. The event was also attended by representatives of the Belarusian Union of Jewish organizations, war veterans and survivors of the Nazi camps. It was followed by screening of the documentary “The Liberation of Auschwitz” and opening of the exhibition “Cry” of the well-known Belarusian artist Sergei Shilo.

UNIC Warsaw presented the SG message during Shalom Foundation event to observe the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.


“Women and the Holocaust: Courage and Compassion,” DVD and Study Guide

A new educational study guide and a companion DVD with survivor testimony for high school students was produced this year by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in partnership with Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, and USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. Among UNICs that organized screening of the new DVD were UNICs Bujumbura, Dhaka, and Nairobi.

UNIC Bujumbura partnered with SOS Hermann Gmeiner secondary school in the organization of an educational outreach activity to commemorate the International Day. The activity, under the theme Women and the Holocaust: Courage and Compassion, took place at the school with the participation of 300 students. It began with introductory remarks made by the school Headmaster and a presentation on the Holocaust and the UN Outreach Programme as well as the screening of the DVD, Women and the Holocaust”. The screening was followed by a Q&A session on Holocaust history with history teachers.

UNIC Dhaka organized a discussion programme and screening of videos on the Holocaust at the Centre with the participation of students from various universities. The videos included “Footprints for Hope” and “Women and the Holocaust: Courage and Compassion” and were followed by an open discussion with the students.
UNIC Nairobi in collaboration with the Embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany and Israel, observed the sixth International Day at the State House Girls High School in Nairobi, under the theme "Women and the Holocaust: Courage and Compassion". UNIC Nairobi selected the Girls High School to launch the new “Women and the Holocaust” study guide and DVD with survivors' testimonies, which was screened following the conclusion of the official ceremony.  The study guide will be presented in other schools throughout the year.

Educational Activities

Students all over the world participated in various educational activities organized by or with the collaboration of UNICs. UNIS Vienna and UNICs Asunción, Baku, Bucharest, Bujumbura, Dhaka, Johannesburg, Manila, Nairobi, Prague and Pretori held activities that included discussions with Holocaust survivors, historical lectures, film screenings, exhibits and a play.

For the past 5 years, the South African high school students have been studying the Holocaust as part of their Social Science curriculum. In line with this year’s theme, “Women and the Holocaust”, UNIC Pretoria collaborated with the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre (JHGC) to organize a programme for high school students at the Museum Africa in Johannesburg. 10 Johannesburg high schools were invited to identify history teachers to take part in the discussion with the students.

UNIC Asunción held a workshop for high school teachers based on the “Footprints for Hope” project, in which the teachers discussed ways of teaching students about the Holocaust and other genocides throughout history.

UNIC Bucharest was visited by 20 students of the Benjamin Franklin high school of Bucharest interested in the history of the Holocaust. The UNIC Officer-in-charge engaged them in a discussion about what lessons youth can learn from the past in order to avoid human rights violations in the future.

UNIC Manila held a Youth Forum on Holocaust Remembrance for high school students of the University of the Philippines - Integrated School (UP-IS), during which it screened selected survivor testimonies from the “Women and the Holocaust” DVD.

UNIC Prague marked the International Day of Commemoration with an educational project aimed at secondary and high school students. In 10 half day sessions (17-28 January 2011) some 250 students participated and discussed the issue of the Holocaust. The workshops included lectures, readings, film screenings as well as discussions with survivors.
UNIC Yaoundéorganized an educational outreach event with 40 students from two high schools, the Lycée Bilingue d’Essos and Mervick Bilingual Grammar School in Yaoundé. The Ambassador of Israel to Cameroon was a special guest at the event, which also featured a screening of the film “One Survivor Remembers”.



Exhibitions commemorating the International Day were organized in Bogotá, Bujumbura, Dakar, Durban, Johannesburg, Manila, Mexico City, Minsk, Moscow, Nairobi, Pretoria, Vienna and Yangon.

UNIC Bogotá partnered with the Jewish community for the opening of the exhibition “Shoah, memory and legacy of the holocaust” at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bogotá. The exhibit was produced by an Interdisciplinary group of young and adult professional experts on this topic and with the sponsorship of Uruguayan and Argentinean Governmental and Non Governmental institutions.

UNIC Pretoria’s Deputy Director was invited to visit the Chattsworth Secondary School in the impoverished suburban township of Chattsworth to attend the opening of an exhibit entitled “Anne Frank – A History",  organized by the Anne Frank Museum  in collaboration with four schools in the Durban area.

UNIC Yangon partnered with the Embassies of Germany and Israel in Yangon and the Alliance Française in mounting the art exhibit by the artist Sara Atzmon, a Holocaust survivor -  “When Words fail…” - displayed at the Alliance Française.  UNIC Yangon also organized discussion with the artist with students from various schools and universities.

UNIC Bujumbura partnered with the Embassy of France in Burundi through the French Institute of Bujumbura (IFB) in presenting the Exhibit "La Shoah en Europe”, which was launched at the French Institute of Bujumbura. Students from primary and secondary schools as well as universities of Bujumbura and the general public visited the exhibit.
UNIC Dakar displayed the Travelling exhibit “The History of the Shoah in Europe” in seven high schools (Institution Sainte Jeanne d’Arc, International School of Dakar , CEM Kleber , Collège Sacré Coeur , CEM Alioune Diop, CEM Adama Diallo , Cours Sainte Marie de Hann), reaching approximately 10,000 students. Students heard lectures from history professors on the history of the Holocaust. After a visit to the exhibition, a debate between students and the school teachers followed.

UNIC Manila in partnership with the Jewish Association of the Philippines, the Philippines's Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost), launched the Manila opening of the "Shoah in Europe" travelling exhibit at the lobby of the DFA Building in Pasay City, and later at the Philippine National Library.

UNIC Mexico City inaugurated, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission and Yad Vashem, the exhibition "The History of the Shoah in Europe" on the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The exhibit was also mounted at Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of the State of Chiapas, during an event organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

UNIC Moscow partnered with the Russian Jewish Congress (JWC) in displaying the Travelling exhibit “The History of the Shoah in Europe”. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of Russian civil society, veterans, educators, journalists, school students and foreign diplomats.

UNIS Vienna, in cooperation with the United Nations Holocaust Programme and Memorial de la Shoah, organized the opening of the exhibition "The History of the Shoah in Europe" at the VIC, on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.


Film screenings

UNICs Almaty, Baku, Bucharest, Bujumbura, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Minsk, Pretoria, Yangon and Yaoundé organized special film screenings.

UNIC Almaty screened the film “Daring to Resist” at the UN House. The audience included UN staff, government representatives, municipal authorities, Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan, cultural and educational institutions, media and selected NGOs. The UNIC organized additional screenings of the film at selected universities.

UNIC Baku, in partnership with the Azerbaijan Teacher Institute, organized an event attended by students from the Azerbaijan Teacher Institute, the Baku State University and the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, along with a group of volunteers from Romania. The event included screening of the film “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and was followed by a discussion on the film, the Holocaust, genocide, humanity and ethnic conflicts.