2012 Holocaust Remembrance Week

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





Calendar of Events

Wed, 18 Jan | Mon, 23 Jan | Wed, 25 Jan | Thu, 26 Jan | Fri, 27 Jan


“Children and the Holocaust”

The 2012 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust focused on the theme “Children and the Holocaust”. The United Nations remembers the one-and-a-half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, together with the thousands of Roma and Sinti children, the disabled and others, who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Some children managed to survive in hiding, others fled to safe havens before it was too late, while many others suffered medical experiments or were sent to the gas chambers immediately upon arriving at the death camps. Highlighting the impact of mass violence on children, this theme has important implications for the 21st century.


New Publication

The Programme has produced a 32-page study guide for students aged 13 and up that serves as a companion to the new animated documentary film “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”, on the life and artwork of Petr Ginz, a Jewish boy from Prague who perished in the Holocaust at the age of 16. The publication features Petr’s art and writings, and provides historical context for the film and information about the United Nations, human rights and Holocaust remembrance activities. The publication is available online in all official United Nations languages and has been distributed to its global network of information centres with the film for educational programmes in the field. The programme also partnered with the 92 Stret Y to develop a lesson on Petr Ginz for its "School of the Arts Musical Introduction Series" for 5 to 9 years old in 25 public school in NYC. The Programme cotributed to the teachers' guide and student journal, which showcases Petr's art in the titled "Remember Me: Art, Music and Poetry Celebrating the Children of Terezin".


Monday, 23 January 2012

A Special Event for “IWitness” with USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

IWitness” is a new online application which provides a searchable collection of video testimonies of Holocaust survivors, along with educational tools and supporting resources for students. Twelve classes from secondary schools in the New York metropolitan area were invited to create a research project using “IWitness”. The special event, co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations, featured student presentations of their projects using “IWitness” and a Q&A with Roman Kent, a Holocaust survivor, whose testimony is in this collection.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Exhibition “The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto 1940-1944” 

This exhibition presents new photographs of community life in the Lodz Ghetto, taken by the Jewish inhabitants. The exhibition is curated by the Topography of Terror Foundation, Berlin (Germany) in cooperation with the State Archive in Lodz (Poland). While researching in the National Archives in Lodz, historian Dr. Ingo Loose and curator Dr. Thomas Lutz came across 27 photo albums. Inside were about 12,000 contact prints in small format, sorted thematically and taken by Jewish photographers at the request of the ghetto's Jewish Council. This collection of images - which is hardly known, even among experts in the field - shows a decisive step in the persecution of Jews in the Lizmannstadt Ghetto. Through this exhibition, these photographs are accessible to the public for the very first time.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Commemorative Conference to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Tragedy of Babyn Yar in Ukraine

The Conference was organized by the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations. Under-Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka delivered brief remarks. During the event an album of artwork dedicated to the Holocaust was presented by the author, prominent Ukrainian Jewish artist Mikhail Turovsk.

Film Screening “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”  

The Programme screened a new animated documentary film on the life and artwork of Petr Ginz, a Jewish boy from Prague who perished in the Holocaust at the age of 16, after spending two years in Terezin.  He was a brilliant child who wrote a diary, four novels and created 200 illustrations and paintings during his short life. The screening was held in partnership with the Documentary Film Program at Wake Forest University and the Documentary Institute at the University of Florida. A panel discussion with the filmmakers and Mr. Leo Lowy, a Holocaust survivor, followed the screening.

Exhibition “A Monument of Good Deeds: Dreams and Hopes of Children During the Holocaust” 

The exhibition on children is curated by Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, and features the stories of 13 children during the Holocaust. Through their portraits, toys and artwork, visitors to this exhibition will learn how these children lived their daily lives as the war was raging around them.

Exhibition “The Holocaust - Keeping the Memory Alive”

A second exhibit titled "The Holocaust - Keeping the Memory Alive" features top 16 entries of the Design Student Poster Contest. The 16 top posters were created by design students from the Czech Republic, Israel and France. The contest drew submissions from more than 300 young artists, with support from the United Nations information centres and the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. The contest was held in partnership with Yad Vashem, le Mémorial de la Shoah, the European Shoah Legacy Institute and the United Nations Holocaust Programme.


Friday, 27 January 2012

United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

The solemn ceremony on the theme “Children and the Holocaust” included a video message by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he implored all nations to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and to protect children’s rights around the world. Statements were made by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Luis Lithgow, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations; and H.E. Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations. Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information at the United Nations, hosted the event. Keynote remarks were made by Professor Robert Krell (Canada), a child survivor and psychiatrist who is devoted to understanding the problems of Holocaust survivor-families and their wellbeing. Students from New York City performed songs from the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood’s production of “Sosua: Dare to Dance Together”, which is based on the true story of the emigration of Jewish refugees to the Dominican Republic. 

The audience then listened as a narrator described the life stories of five children who died during the Holocaust. These poignant descriptions left the audience wondering what these children, and the hundreds of thousands of others who perished, might have contributed to society if their lives had not been cut short. Another narrator then read the life stories of five child Holocaust survivors who grow up to become accomplished adults. Cantor Azi Schwartz, the Cantor and Musical Director of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City, recited the traditional memorial prayers of Kel Maleh Rachamim and Ani Ma’amin during the ceremony. A group of young singers from NYC performed songs from Sosua: Dare to Dance Together, an original musical production based on historical events that led up to the Second World War. 

Zachor: Holocaust Memory Across Generations

B’nai B’rith International held a special breakfast programme on the Shoah and its legacy across the generations. Ambassador Brusso von Alvensleben, Consul General of Germany, and Allan J. Jacobs, President of B’nai B’rith International, made remarks during the event.  



Secretary-General's Message 

on the International Day of Commemoration 

in memory of the victims of The Holocaust


One and a half million Jewish children perished in the Holocaust – victims of persecution by the Nazis and their supporters.

Tens of thousands of other children were also murdered.  They included people with disabilities…  as well as Roma and Sinti.

All were victims of a hate-filled ideology that labelled them “inferior”. 

This year’s International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is dedicated to the children – girls and boys who faced sheer terror and evil.

Many were orphaned by the war, or ripped away from their families.

Many died of starvation, disease or at the hands of their abusers.

We will never know what these children might have contributed to our world.

And among the survivors, many were too shattered to tell their stories.

Today, we seek to give voice to those accounts.

That is why the United Nations continues to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

It is why we strive to promote children’s rights and aspirations – every day and everywhere.

And it is why we will continue to be inspired by the shining example of great humanitarians such as Raoul Wallenberg, in this, the centennial year of his birth. 

Today, as we remember all those lost during the Holocaust – young and old alike -- I call on all nations to protect the most vulnerable, regardless of race, colour, gender or religious beliefs.

Children are uniquely vulnerable to the worst of humankind.

We must show them the best this world has to offer.

Thank you.

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




United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Statement of H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly

Remarks by H.E. Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations

Remarks by H.E. Luis Lithgow, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations

Remarks by Dr. Robert Krell, Child Survivor, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry University of British Columbias

Remarks by H.E. Rosemary DiCarlo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States  to the United Nations

UN Secretary-General's remarks at the Park East Synagogue in New York.

President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly 

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


2012 Holocaust Remembrance Activities around the World


Africa | Asia and Pacific | Americas Europe


The United Nations held Holocaust Remembrance events around the world, through its global network of United Nations Information Centres (UNICs), United Nations Information Service (UNIS) and United Nations Offices (UNO). Activities were organized around the theme of children and the Holocaust and ranged from film screenings to solemn memorial ceremonies to educational programmes and exhibitions.



Accra, Ghana

UNIC Accra marked the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust with a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz", followed by an engaging discussion about the Holocaust. Students from schools in the Greater Accra and Eastern regions of Ghana, members of the Jewish community, various religious groups and representatives of the international community attended the event.


Antananarivo, Madagascar

UNIC Antananarivo organized several events to commemorate the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. On 1 February, a remembrance ceremony was held at the ESCA Antanimena Antananarivo Catholic School, which featured a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz", followed by an interactive discussion. The UNIC also organized an exhibition on children and the Holocaust, held from 27 January until the end of February. During the month of February, the UNIC Office held weekly workshops on the Holocaust for local students.

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo

UNIC Brazzaville organized an event on 27 January with 240 secondary students from L’Ecole AD Plus and Lycée le Bambino and 10 students from Marien Ngouabi University. The event featured a screening of the film "Into the Arms of Strangers".

Bujumbura, Burundi

To commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Week, UNIC Bujumbura organized a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz"as well as an exhibit on the Holocaust in Europe. Children from local schools attended the events, which were held at the UNIC office.

Lome, Togo

UNIC Lome organized an event for students from three local high schools, which featured a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz" followed by an interactive discussion about the Holocaust. Students visiting the UNIC also office had an opportunity to view an exhibition of posters and photos of the Holocaust and the Auschwitz camp.


Dakar, Senegal

UNIC Dakar organized a series of exhibitions and discussions that ran from 31 January until 12 March. The exhibitions took place at 4 local schools including College Hyacinthe Thiandoum, West African College of the Atlantic, Cours Sainte Marie de Hann, and Université du Sahel, and were viewed by over 6,000 visitors.


Nairobi, Kenya

The United Nations Information Center in Nairobi organized a remembrance ceremony at the Green Garden School in Kikuyu, with over 500 guests in attendance. In her remarks to the event, Ambassador Margit Hellwig-Boete of Germany said the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust could have made a difference in the world. She underscored that the atrocities committed by Germans would remain part and parcel of their lives, and she called on the children of the victims and perpetrators to join together for a better future. Other guest speakers included Ambassador Solomon Maina of Kenya and Mr. Albert Atias, who represented the Jewish congregation of Nairobi. A special exhibit in memory of the Holocaust and a film screening were also organized.

Lusaka, Zambia

UNIC Lusaka marked the Commemoration of the International Day with a screening of the film The Last Flight of Petr Ginz, followed by a panel discussionStudents from the University of Zambia, local high school students, and members from the Messianic Association of Zambia and The Federation of World Peace attended the event.


Pretoria, South Africa

UNIC South Africa partnered with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the JHGA to host an educational outreach programme to mark the international day of Holocaust remembrance.  Elly Gotz, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to a diverse group of students from schools in Johannesburg about the experience of children during the Holocaust and his own experience as a teenager in the Dachau camp. The UNIC also provided the film “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz” to the Durban Holocaust Centre, and the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre.

Yaoundé, Cameroon

UNIC Yaoundé organized two events in Bamenda, located in the Northwest region of Cameroon, to mark Holocaust Remembrance Week. The first event featured a media briefing for over 20 journalists who met to learn more about the history of the Holocaust. Some of the questions that arose during the briefing were: “What is the relevance of the Holocaust to high school students in Cameroon?” and “Can we compare the Holocaust to our frequent ethnic clashes and tribal wars in the Northwest region?” The second event featured a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz" followed by an interactive discussion about the power of Petr’s imagination and the importance of overcoming hatred. Over 800 students attended the event.



Asia and Pacific


Ankara, Turkey

UNIC Ankara participated in a ceremony at Neve Salom Synagogue to commemorate Holocaust victims. Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu and Ambassador Ertan Tezgor delivered remarks to open the ceremony, which featured a candle lighting ceremony.


Canberra, Australia

UNIC Canberra partnered with the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants and the Jewish Museum in Sydney in organizing a commemorative event which featured "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz".  Guest speakers included Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence and Mrs. Litzi Lemberg, a child survivor of the Theresienstadt camp, who spoke about the similarities between her and Petr’s life. Following the screening, Alan Rosenthal, an internationally renowned film director, spoke about the role of Adolf Eichmann in the Holocaust.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, UNIC Dhaka organized a number of events for Holocaust Remembrance Week, including a poster exhibition, a screening of the film The Absence and a candle lighting ceremony. Participants also viewed the Secretary-General’s video message, which was translated into the local language of Bangla. The events were held in cooperation with the United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh and Dhaka University Model UN Association.

New Delhi, India

UNIC New Delhi and Alliance Francaise de Delhi, in partnership with the embassies of Israel and France, organized a day long commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, which took place on 16 February 2012. The first half of the day of commemoration was devoted to sensitizing young children to the narrative and lessons of the Holocaust through different activities. The evening function included a remembrance ceremony and screening of the film The Heavens Will Open For You: The Story of Malka Rosenthal. The Centre also mounted an outdoor exhibition of the winners of the International Design Student Poster Competition. Dignitaries in attendance included Member of Parliament Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Ambassador Alon Ushpiz of Israel and Director of the Alliance Francaise de Delhi Jean-Philippe Bottin.

Yangon, Myanmar

UNIC Yangon, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Embassies of Israel and Germany, organized a seminar for university students, and a photo exhibition titled To Bear Witness, which featured photographs from the Yad Vashem archives. The UNIC also organized a screening of the film The Last Flight of Petr Ginz, with over 400 people in attendance.




Mexico City, Mexico

UNIC Mexico organized several events to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. On 26 January, the Information Centre organized a screening of two films titled “The Absence” and “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”, the latter which had been subtitled in Spanish by UNIC Mexico. More than 200 students attended the screening and participated in a discussion that followed after hearing remarks by the UNIC Director, the Ambassador of Israel and the Director of Yad Vashem Mexico. In addition to the screening, UNIC Mexico mounted an exhibit “Manteniendo viva la memoria” at the United Nations Office, which remained on display until June 2012.


Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

UNIC Port of Spain held a number of events to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Week. On 27 January, the UNIC held a ceremony to launch a month-long photo and video exhibit on the Holocaust. The event featured a reading from "The Diary of Anne Frank" by a local student, a presentation given by a Holocaust survivor, and a screening of the trailer for the new film "The Last flight of Petr Ginz".





Baku, Azerbaijan

The UNO in Azerbaijan organized a commemoration event on 27 January at the Baku Museum Centre.  Guests included Ambassador Michael Lotem-Lavon of Israel, representatives from the Jewish community and students from local schools.  The ceremony featured a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz".  Winning entries from the 2012 student poster contest, "The Holocaust - Keeping the Memory Alive", were also showcased.

Brussels, Belgium

UNRIC Brussels organised a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz"for which it produced sutitles in French, to mark the international day. Over 300 people attended the event including Holocaust survivors, representatives from the Jewish community, Non Government Organizations and European Union institutions. The screening was followed by an interactive panel discussion with Petr Ginz expert Pavel Černoch, Head of the UNESCO Office in Brussels Marie-Paule Roudil and Regina Sluszny, a child survivor.

Bucharest, Romania

UNIC Bucharest partnered with Dante Alighieri High school for a screening of the documentary "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz". The screening was followed by a debate that touched on issues such as human rights, communism and the Holocaust in Romania, highlighting the need for explaining the history of the Holocaust.

Geneva, Switzerland

In Geneva dignitaries, young people, musicians and staff members for a remembrance ceremony on 31 January. The key note address was delivered by Agnes Hirschi, the daughter of Carl Lutz, who worked as the Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest during the war, and risked his life by fabricating false identification documents to save thousands of Hungarian Jews. Ms. Hirschi spoke of night time calls to avert mass killings, sheltering in basements with no light or provisions and of the thousands of people who found shelter in Budapest’s Glass House - a factory in disrepair which benefited from diplomatic immunity. On 1 February, the UNIS office organized a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz" for students from local schools aged 13 to 15.

Kiev, Ukraine 

UNO Kyiv marked the International Day with a round-table discussion about the historic memory of the Holocaust in the Ukraine and challenges in Holocaust education. Representatives of government ministries, the diplomatic community, non government organizations, educators and students attended the event. In addition, a screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz" was organized in three schools in Kyiv, with more than 300 students in attendance.

Minsk, Belarus

UNO Minsk organized several events including an exhibition of student artwork on the Holocaust, and a discussion and screening of the film "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz"The Office produced subtitles in Russian for the film. Guest speakers included Mr. Vladimir Rubezhin, a former Minsk ghetto prisoner and resistance fighter, and Mr. Leonid Levin, the Chairman of the Union of Belarusian Jewish NGOs and Communities.

Moscow, Russian Federation

UNIC Moscow staff participated in several events in Moscow to mark the International Day of Commemoration. On 24 January, UNIC Director Alexandre Gorelik attended a commemorative event at the Central House of Cinema.  On 26 January, the UNIC Director attended an international conference by the Council of Europe titled “Never Again: Holocaust Remembrance and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity”, at which he delivered a welcome message by Under-Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka. The UNIC office organized a design student poster contest as part of the International Design Student Poster Competition sponsored by the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. In April, the top16 entries were unveiled at a candle-lighting and exhibit opening held at the Jewish Cultural Centre in Moscow. UNIC Moscow also produced a Russian version of the Petr Ginz study guide for students and teachers.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

On January 27, the United Nations Information Office in close cooperation with the Embassy of Israel in Tashkent and the Israeli Cultural Centre organized a special event to observe the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The event featured presentations by guests, a performance by students of the Jewish School in Tashkent and the screening of the documentary "The Last Flight of Petr Ginz". The event was open to students, representatives of the diplomatic community, the general public and UNIC staff members. Over 100 people attended the event.


Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) organized several events in cooperation with Yad Layeled France and Yad Layeled Austria. The exhibit Following the Path of a Picture opened at the Vienna International Centre on 23 January 2012. Guest speakers included the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Alternate Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in Vienna, and the Chairman of the Ethnic Group Council for Romanies. In addition to the exhibition, UNIS Vienna held a screening of three films.


Washington D.C., USA

Marie Okabe, Deputy Director of UNIC Washington, represented the United Nations at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Commemoration of International Remembrance Day. Ms. Okabe honoured the legacy of Holocaust victims and survivors by lighting a candle at the museum.