2019 Holocaust Remembrance Week
World War II Veterans and other participants listen to Secretary-General António Guterres during the Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony on the theme "Demand and Defend Your Human Rights". Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Calendar of Events
“Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”
The theme of the Holocaust remembrance and education activities this year is “Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”. This theme encourages youth to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust, act against discrimination and defend democratic values in their communities, at a time when the spread of Neo-Nazism and hate groups fuels the rising antisemitism and other forms of hatred around the world. The theme highlights the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Monday, 28 January 2019
United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony
The ceremony was hosted by Ms. Alison Smale, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. The event included remarks by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres; H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Jonathan R. Cohen, Chargé d’Affaires, United States Mission to the United Nations; Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin, the Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Ms. Sara J. Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum served as the keynote speaker. Ms. Bloomfield has led the Museum for 18 years, working to build a global institution that raises Holocaust awareness, deepens understanding of the lessons of the Holocaust, confronts denial, and advances genocide prevention. Mr. Marian Turski, Chair of the Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Deputy Chair of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, journalist and recipient of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour, shared his testimony as a survivor of the Holocaust. Ms. Inge Auerbacher shared her account as a child survivor of Teresienstadt. Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky of the Park East Synagogue recited the memorial prayers. The ceremony included musical elements performed by the PS22 Chorus.
Exhibition Opening "Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations"
This exhibition relates the unique stories of diplomats recognized by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, as Righteous Among the Nations. During the Holocaust, these diplomats recognized the danger and murder facing the Jews in the countries in which they served, at the hands of the Nazi Germans, with the help of their accomplices and allies. They chose to act according to their conscience, and tried to save as many Jewish men, women and children as possible, mainly by providing them with passports, visas and travel permits. The exhibition is sponsored by Permanent Missions of Israel, Peru and Portugal to the United Nations. Secretary-General will make opening remarks and Stéphane Dujarric will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
Presentation "India: A Distant Haven During the Holocaust"
B'nai B'rith International and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations hosted the presentation on a lesser-known chapter in the history of the Holocaust: the haven found in India by a number of Jewish refugees who fled from Europe. Author and expert on India's Jewish community Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins discussed the Jews who were able to flee Nazism in India. Stephen Tauber, who was an Austrian Jewish refugee in India, shared his family’s story.
Exhibition "Bracha. A Blessing. Back to Polish Shtetls."
This photographic exhibition brings to us images of a world that survived the Holocaust, despite the attempts of the German Nazis and their accomplices to annihilate Jewish communities, peoples and culture. The photographs of Polish documentary producer and photographer Ms. Agnieszka Traczewska, document the journeys of the descendants of Jews who once lived in the Polish territories, to the remains of Jewish heritage in Poland: the synagogues, graveyards and the graves of Tzadikim. The event is organized by the Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Poland in New York.
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Meet the Author "Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom" by Ariel Burger
Ariel Burger is a writer, artist, teacher, and rabbi whose work combines spirituality, creativity, and strategies for social change. In his profoundly thought-provoking and inspiring book, Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, Burger gives us a front-row seat to Wiesel’s remarkable exchanges in and out of the classroom, and chronicles the intimate conversations between these two men over the decades as Burger sought counsel on matters of intellect, spirituality, and faith, while navigating his own personal journey from boyhood to manhood, from student and assistant, to rabbi and, in time, teacher. Dr. Eva Fogelman, psychologist, filmmaker and author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book titled Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, led an interactive discussion with Mr. Burger at the event.
Exhibition "Lives Cut Short- Seeking Refuge During the Holocaust: The Short Life of Ruth Maier"
Through photographs and diary extracts, this exhibition tells the story of Ruth Maier. Born in Vienna in 1920, Ruth began keeping a diary when she turned 13. She recorded her everyday life, and the increasing persecution of Jews after the “Anschluss” of 1938. Ruth witnessed the violent antisemitism of the November Pogrom, 1938. Forced to flee Austria, Ruth found refuge in Norway. In Norway she completed her schooling and revealed her talents in drawing, painting and writing. She shared her thoughts about life in occupied Norway, her love and poetry in her diaries but now she wrote in her new language, Norwegian. However, she could not escape antisemitism or the reach of the Nazis. In 1942 Ruth was arrested in front of her friends and deported from Nazi-occupied Norway to Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945). The Nazis murdered Ruth on 1 December 1942. Since 2014 Ruth Maier’s diaries have been part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, secured at The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies. The exhibition is jointly sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Austria and Norway to the United Nations.
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Film Screening "Who Will Write Our History"
In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 350,000 Jewish men, women and children in the Warsaw Ghetto, historian Emanuel Ringelblum began to develop a secret archive of the ordeal facing those imprisoned by the Nazis in the Ghetto and the new arrivals, who shared their stories of deportation and murder. The core group of archivists was comprised of journalists, scholars and community leaders and was known by the code name Oyneg Shabes. The group buried the archive, most of which was discovered after the Second World War. The archive remains a powerful example of resistance and a heroic attempt to safeguard Jewish heritage and culture. This film integrates the writings of the contributors to the archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and dramatizations to show the risk the group was willing to take to preserve their history. The event was organized with support from American Jewish Committee’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. Invited speakers include Ms. Nancy Spielberg, Executive Producer; Ms. Roberta Grossman, writer, film director and producer; Professor Samuel Kassow, historian and author of the book Who will write our history?; and Ms. Felice Gaer, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, American Jewish Committee. Following the screening, Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division, moderated a discussion with Ms. Nancy Spielberg, Ms. Roberta Grossman, and Professor Samuel Kassow.
Thursday, 31 January 2019
United Nations Civil Society Briefing "A Matter of Humanity: The Rescue of Jews in Albania during the Holocaust"
Albania’s response to the plight of Jewish people during the Holocaust remains a powerful example of compassion in the face of Nazi brutality. The Department of Global Communications, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Albania to the United Nations, organized a multi-media programme to build awareness and appreciation of the acts of rescue by Albanians, of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Speakers included the H.E. Ms. Besiana Kadare, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Albania to the United Nations; Ambassador Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress; Ms. Majlinda Myrto, Executive Director of the “Eye Contact Foundation”, Dr. Anna Kohen, whose family was rescued in Albania during the Holocaust, Mr. David Estrin, Founder of the youth organization “Together We Remember”, and Mr. Robert Singer, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress.
Film screening "The Story of Lina Amato"
Permanent Mission of Turkey is inviting all to the screening of the documentary “The Story of Lina Amato” on Thursday, 31 January 2019 at the Turkish Mission. Filmmaker, Jonathan Andrews, presents the true story of Lina Kantor (Amato), one of the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust now residing in Cape Town, South Africa. This extraordinary documentary film explores the rare account of how interventions of the Turkish Consul-General on Rhodes Island in Greece, Selahattin Ülkümen, saved 42 Jews from deportation by the Nazis to Auschwitz during July 1944 – World War II. Lina speaks from the heart as she guides viewers through the history of her time spent on Rhodes Island as a child, and how her family was saved through the efforts of Selahattin Ülkümen. Yad Vashem ultimately recognised him as “Righteous Among the Nations” in 1989. The Story of Lina Amato is an honest and unforgettable fragment of history in commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day – 27 January.
on the International Day of Commemoration
in memory of the victims of The Holocaust
27 January 2019
Today we honour the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust – and the many other victims of unprecedented, calculated cruelty and horror.
This year’s observance falls amid an alarming increase in anti-Semitism.
From a deadly assault on a synagogue in the United States to the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe, this centuries-old hatred is not only still strong – it is getting worse.
We see the proliferation of neo-Nazi groups, and attempts to rewrite history and distort the facts of the Holocaust.
We see bigotry moving at lightning speed across the Internet.
As the Second World War recedes in time, and the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it falls to us to be ever vigilant.
And as the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sacks, so memorably said: “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews”.
Indeed, we see intolerance entering mainstream politics -- targeting minorities, Muslims, migrants and refugees, and exploiting the anger and anxiety of a changing world.
Remarks by H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Jonathan R. Cohen, Chargé d’Affaires, United States Mission to the United Nations
Remarks by Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin, the Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Remarks by Mr. Marian Turski, Chair of the Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Deputy Chair of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, journalist and recipient of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour
Remarks by Ms. Inge Auerbacher, a Holocaust survivor
Remarks by Ms. Sara J. Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Remarks by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at Park East Synagogue Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony
“Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”
Nancy Spielberg releases new documentary “Who Will Write Our History” (28 February 2019)
Press Release: United Nations Opens Holocaust Exhibition on Story of Ruth Maier (24 January 2019)
Press Release: United Nations Headquarters to Host Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in General Assembly Hall, 28 January (23 January 2019)
2019 Holocaust Remembrance Activities around the World
Africa | Asia and Pacific | Americas | Europe
In 2019, the global network of United Nations Information Centres (UNICs), United Nations Offices (UNO) and United Nations Information Services (UNIS) organized 112 Holocaust remembrance and educational activities in 33 countries, under the theme “Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”. This theme encourages youth to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust, act against discrimination and defend democratic values in their communities, at a time when the spread of neo-Nazism and hate groups fuels rising antisemitism and other forms of hatred around the world.
Holocaust remembrance and educational events included solemn commemoration ceremonies, exhibits, film screenings and educational briefings. UNICs, UNIS and UNOs were supported by materials produced by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme (the Holocaust Programme) and its partners. In 2019, the Holocaust Programme worked with global theatrical distribution and rights management organization, Abramorama, so that the documentary, Who Will Write our History could be shared with 20 UNICs and subtitled in six languages - English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. Who Will Write Our History provides insight into the creation of a secret archive inside the Warsaw Ghetto where some 350,000 Jewish men, women and children were imprisoned during the Holocaust. Despite being trapped within the Warsaw Ghetto, historian Emanuel Ringelblum and others, at great risk to their lives, documented their existence and gathered evidence of the ordeal endured by the Jewish community under the code name Oyneg Shabes. Determined that a record of Jewish life should survive the destruction wrought by the Nazis, select members of the group buried the archive in tin boxes and milk cans. After the war, two parts of the archive were unearthed; the third was not discovered. This recordremains a powerful example of resistance and a heroic attempt to safeguard Jewish history, heritage and culture. The documentary integrates the writings of those who contributed to the archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and dramatizations.
Other educational products available to the UNICs included the poster exhibitions titled State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda and The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust, developed by the Holocaust Programme, in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Holocaust Museum Houston respectively. The posters are available in all United Nations official languages. The Holocaust Programme also provided talking points to brief students on the poster exhibits and lesson plans for educators. The documentaries, The Path to Nazi Genocide, subtitled by the Holocaust Programme in all official United Nations languages, and Children of the Holocaust were also available for UNICs to use in their outreach programmes.
UNIC Accra, Ghana
Three outreach events were held in Accra. The first event was hosted by Accra Academy. Some 500 students from three high schools attended the screening of The Path to Nazi Genocide. Discussions were held after the screening. Also present were the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Ms. Shani Cooper-Zubida; the Culture, Press and Trade Officer at the German Embassy in Accra, Ms. Gudrun Haider; and a US-based Ghanaian poet, Ms. Cynthia Amoah, who made a presentation on human rights and love and respect for one another.
The Ambassador of Israel to Ghana, H. E. Ms. Shani Cooper-Zubida. Photo: UNIC Accra
On 30 January, UNIC Accra together with the Embassies of Israel and Germany, observed the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. About 50 dignitaries including members of the diplomatic community, religious bodies, civil society organisations and parliamentarians participated in the evening event. The documentary Numbered was screened and delegates delivered statements.
Five hundred students from three high schools attended the Holocaust
remembrance activities organized by UNIC Accra. Photo: UNIC Accra
On 31 January over 200 students took part in the briefing session led by UNIC Accra, followed by the screening of Who Will Write Our History. The event was hosted by the Holy Trinity Cathedral High School.
UNIC Antananarivo, Madagascar
UNIC Antananarivo’s Holocaust commemoration activities included a formal commemoration ceremony, an exhibition and film screenings.
The commemoration ceremony took place on 30 January. The message conveyed during the ceremony was, "No to discrimination, yes to tolerance”. The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Tsantatiana Salama Randrianarimanana; representatives of United Nations agencies and the National Human Rights Commission, youth from various associations as well as civil society organisations working on human rights, attended the ceremony. The screening of the video message of the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres, was followed by a screening The Path to Nazi Genocide.
In his speech, Mr. Randrianarimanana underlined the importance of this year’s remembrance theme. He mentioned daily situations where all could be victims of disrespect and discrimination. The Human Rights Advisor, representing the Resident Coordinator, talked about the history of the Holocaust, reminding everyone of the need to remember the history to prevent it from happening again. He emphasized the message of the United Nations Secretary-General, that technology is spreading fanaticism at lightning speed. He re-iterated the importance of instilling the universal value of tolerance in future generations, so that hatred could be prevented.
Students from the University of Antananarivo and the Ampefiloha High School, Madagascar.
Photo: UNIC Antananarivo
Youth members of UN clubs engaged in activities advocating tolerance and non-discrimination. They shared messages on what to do to fight discrimination and to promote the spirit of tolerance. Posters and flyers about the Holocaust and human rights were distributed at the end of the ceremony.
On 23 January, UNIC Antananarivo in partnership with the University of Antananarivo and Ampefiloha High School, displayed the exhibition State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. In addition, two workshops on the Holocaust were organized at the University of Antananarivo and at Ampefiloha High School on 20 and 27 February.
There were five sessions of film screenings in the UNIC Antananarivo’s programme of Holocaust commemoration. On 23 and 30 January, the UNIC organized a screening of Path to Nazi Genocide. Who Will Write Our History was screened on the 6 February at the UNIC conference room and on 20 and 27 February in different locations.
UNIC Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
Three outreach events were held in Brazzaville in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Activities included a student briefing, an essay contest, a film screening and a youth music event.
On 25 January, UNIC Brazzaville briefed students participating in an essay contest on genocide prevention. The contest is a joint initiative conducted with the Digital Radio Television, a private television station.
Students from Thomas Sankara High School participated in the programme
organized by UNIC Brazzaville. Photo: UNIC Brazzaville
On 31 January, the UNIC organized an event for 250 students from Thomas Sankara High School, a public high school in the Brazzaville suburbs. They watched the documentary The Path to Nazi Genocide and held a discussion about the Holocaust. The event also featured a youth band performing songs about human rights, tolerance and peace. On 1 February, the UNIC organized a similar event for 50 students from Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur, a private high school.
UNIC Bujumbura, Burundi
On 30 January, some 200 students from Lycée Saint Bazile, one of the secondary schools in Bujumbura, participated in educational outreach activities to commemorate the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The activities were organized and hosted by UNIC Bujumbura under the theme “Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”.
Students from Lycée Saint Bazile, Bujumbura, engaged in the briefing organized
by UNIC Bujumbura on the Holocaust. Photo: UNIC Bujumbura
A student from Lycée Saint Bazile asking a question during the briefing.
Photo: UNIC Bujumbura
The programme included a briefing on the Holocaust, a screening of The Path to Nazi Genocide, as well as the display of the exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. Students also learned about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and pledged to resist any ideology that could lead to genocide, racism and xenophobia. The participating schools appreciated the UNIC’s initiative to provide human rights education to their students and noted the added value of the educational programme on the Holocaust.
UNIC Dakar, Senegal
On the 26 and 28 January, UNIC Dakar organized a series of Holocaust commemorative activities together with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation; the Embassies of Israel, Germany and the Republic of Poland in the Republic of Senegal; the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar; the National Commission for UNESCO and the school, Cours Sainte Marie de Hann.
On 26 January, UNIC Dakar organized a screening of The Path to Nazi Genocide followedby a discussion at the Musée des Civilisations Noires du Sénégal. The event was organised together with UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar, the National Commission for UNESCO in Senegal; OHCHR’s Regional Office for West Africa; Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar; and Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.
Students engaging with the Holocaust exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi
Propaganda at Thiaroye college. Photo: UNIC Dakar
Mr. Damian Cardona-Onses, Director of UNIC Dakar,
signs the guestbook for the commemoration event. Photo: UNIC Dakar
H.E. Mr. Roi Rosenblit, Ambassador of Israel; Mr. Damian Cardona Onses, Director of UNIC Dakar; Dr. Armin Osmanovic of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, Dr. Alioune Deme of Cheikh Anta Diop University; Ms. Akemi Yonemura, Head of the UNESCO Education Programme in Dakar; Ms. Abibatou Sow of the National Commission for UNESCO, and numerous guests, including more than 200 students, attended the screening of Who Will Write Our History.
UNIC Dakar, in partnership OHCHR’s Regional Office for West Africa; Cours Sainte Marie de Hann; and the Embassies of Israel and Germany organized the display of the exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.
An official ceremony commemorating the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust took place at Cours Sainte Marie de Hann. The Director of Cours Sainte Marie de Hann, Mr. André Sonko, welcomed the diplomatic corps; Regional Representative of OHCHR West African Regional Office, Mr. Andrea Ori; Mr. Cardona-Onses; United Nations colleagues; guests, teachers and students. After the speeches, the exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda was opened. More than 150 students attended the official ceremony. From 28 January to 26 April, the exhibition will visit ten high schools and colleges in Dakar and suburbs.
UNIC Dar es Salaam
On 29 January, UNIC Dar es Salaam, in partnership with the German Embassy and the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, led the commemoration held at the National Museum of Tanzania, of the International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Three hundred students from Chang’ombe, Kibasila and Azania Secondary Schools, along with students from The Institute of Finance Management, joined the commemoration which began with a tour of the exhibition titled, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.
The Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Jeorg Herrera, briefed the students about the Holocaust and how Germany has supported human rights globally after the Holocaust. In his message, Mr. Herrera asked all present to remember the victims of the Holocaust and the history of the Holocaust. “We will remember the victims because we respect them, and we do not want to forget them. We must learn from them and from history to avoid a repeat of what happened. We remember the past so that we can relate it to the present and future,” he noted.
High school students from Chang’ombe, Kibasila and Azania Secondary Schools in Dar es Salaam,
participate in a Holocaust education programme organized by UNIC Dar es Salaam. Photo: UNIC Dar es Salaam
Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Jeorg Herrera, briefing students
about the Holocaust. Photo: UNIC Dar es Salaam
UNIC Dar es Salaam displayed the exhibition State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda
as part of its Holocaust educational activities. Photo: UNIC Dar es Salaam
Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, United Nations Resident Coordinator, read out the United Nations Secretary-General’s Message for the day. Mr. Rodriguez advised students to fight discrimination and encouraged them to be guided by this year’s theme. He said, “… we are reminded to learn from what happened; to say no to violence and discrimination so that history does not repeat itself.”
Students also had an opportunity to ask Mr. Rodriguez and H.E. Mr. Jeorg Herrera questions about the Holocaust, and subsequent developments.
UNIC Dar es Salaam’s Information Officer, Ms. Stella Vuzo, moderated the Q&A event and spoke about the efforts of the United Nations to prevent genocide; the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; and how United Nation offices and peacekeeping operations around the world strive to sustain global peace.
UNIC Lagos, Nigeria
UNIC Lagos organized several events in Abuja and Lagos on 28 January in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Activities included student briefings, a poster exhibition and film screenings.
In Abuja, UNIC Lagos and the UNESCO Multi-Sectoral Regional Office in Abuja, organized a briefing for some 150 students from 17 schools, in partnership with Abuja Schools Association and Titsall Global Schools Wuse 2. The students were briefed on the history and significance of the Holocaust. They were encouraged to act against discrimination and say no to any form of racism and hate speech. Following the briefing, the film Who Will Write Our History was screened. The Holocaust Factsheet, developed by UNIC Lagos, was distributed amongst the students. Administrators of the schools were encouraged to combat ideologies of hatred and to promote the culture of peace.
A student reads from The Holocaust Factsheet developed by UNIC Lagos. Photo: UNIC Lagos
UNIC Lagos organized several events in Abuja and Lagos in observance of the International
Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Photo: UNIC Lagos
Students engaged with the exhibit The Butterfly Project:
Remembering the Children of the Holocaust. Photo: UNIC Lagos
UNIC Lagos, in partnership with Caleb International College, organized an event in Lagos, that included a student briefing, film screening and an exhibition. Over 800 students were briefed on the need to shun all forms of racism, discrimination and hate speech in their schools and communities. The students wrote on cardboard what lessons they learnt. Some of the lessons the students wrote they had learned included, ‘Hate speech fuels violence’, and ‘Let us create a future without hate’. The film Who Will Write Our History and the video message of the United Nations Secretary-General were screened. The exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust was displayed. The Holocaust Factsheet was distributed amongst the students.
UNIC Lomé, Togo
UNIC Lomé organized an information day at Saint Joseph's College on 29 January to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. About 300 students participated in the event.
Ms. Zibilila Nadietou, National Information Officer for UNIC Lomé, delivered the message of the United Nations Secretary-General on Holocaust remembrance. The film, Who Will Write Our History, was screened. During the discussion that followed the screening, Mr. Sebastien Boccovi, Director of Saint Joseph's College, encouraged students to be tolerant. "These outreach activities are very important because we have to educate young people. They need to know the history and how far intolerance and hatred can lead," he said.
Students participated in the Holocaust commemoration ceremony, discussion and screening of
Who Will Write our History, organized by UNIC Lomé at Saint Joseph's College. Photo: UNIC Lomé
The exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, was also displayed and information on the Second World War and the Holocaust shared with the participants.
UNIC Lusaka, Zambia
UNIC Lusaka organized several commemorative and educational activities aimed at promoting peace and tolerance in Zambia. On 29 January, a Holocaust commemorative ceremony was held at the University of Zambia in Lusaka. Zambia’s Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Reverend Godfridah Sumaili, was the guest of honour. United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan, and Chairperson of the Council of Zambian Jewry, Mr. Simon Zukas, also spoke at the event. The event included the recitation of the mourners’ Kaddish. This was followed by the screening of the documentary The Path to Nazi Genocide, and a discussion involving about 100 youth and representatives of the Jewish community, political parties, faith-based organisations, the Lusaka National Museum and journalists. Participants also viewed the exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remember the Children of the Holocaust. UNIC Lusaka used bulk texting to reach 75, 000 mobile ‘phone users with key messages about the Holocaust. A link to the UNIC website with information about the Holocaust was included in the messages.
One hundred students engaged with the exhibition The Butterfly Project:
Remembering the Children of the Holocaust hosted at the University of Zambia. Photo: UNIC Lusaka
On 15 February, UNIC Lusaka screened the documentary Who Will Write Our History to over 100 students at a school in the Kafue district. The screening was followed by a discussion about the Holocaust and what young people can do to prevent genocide. The students resolved that tribalism and other ethnic differences should not define individuals but rather that everyone should stand together as a strong community proud of its ethnic diversity.
Students participated in a film screening, memorial ceremony and discussion on
Holocaust remembrance and tolerance organized by UNIC Lusaka. Photo: UNIC Lusaka
Arising from the events, the Zambian Government requested that UNIC Lusaka lend the exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust to the Lusaka National Museum for display in March 2019. Furthermore, a businessman from Lusaka who lost relatives in the Holocaust indicated that a school in Darmstadt, Germany, was interested in linking its students with their Zambian counterparts to discuss the Holocaust and peace. UNIC Lusaka was requested to support the initiative.
UNIC Nairobi, Kenya
On 28 January, UNIC Nairobi in partnership with the Israeli Embassy in Kenya, brought over 300 students from more than ten Kenyan Universities, and over 50 diplomats accredited to UNEP and UN Habitat to the United Nations Offices at Nairobi (UNON), to commemorate the International Day of Commemoration in the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Acting UNON Director-General and Executive Director UN Habitat, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Shariff, read the United Nations Secretary-General’s statement. Six candles were lit at the start of the event. All attending received white roses that were laid at the dais in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
UNON Acting Director-General, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Shariff lays flowers in
memory of the victims of the Holocaust at the commemoration ceremony attended
by students and diplomats. Photo: UNIC Nairobi
The German Ambassador, H.E Ms. Annett Günther; the Israeli Ambassador, H.E Mr. Noah Gal Gendler; and the Senior Lecturer and Director of Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) representing Kenya’s Jewish Community, Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, spoke at the event. The Kenyan Ambassador to UNON, Ms. Rose Makena, spoke on behalf of the Kenyan Government to conclude the first phase of the event.
The second phase was led by the Deputy Chief of the Mission of Israel to Kenya, Mr. Eyal David, and moderated by UNIC Deputy Director, Mr. Newton Kanhema. The screening of the documentary The Final Solution was followed by an hour of intense interaction. Students from various campuses asked relevant questions that were competently and comprehensively answered by the three distinguished diplomats.
A student engages with the exhibition The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust
organized by UNIC Nairobi. Photo: UNIC Nairobi
UNIC Nairobi also held an exhibition entitled: The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust which was on display for one week. The event was well-attended.
UNIC Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
UNIC Ouagadougou organized two different events to commemorate the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
UNIC Ouagadougou organized an exhibition on the Holocaust. The exhibition comprised two poster sets viz. State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda and The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust. The exhibition aimed to teach about the Holocaust and to raise public awareness of its causes and consequences. On display at UNIC Ouagadougou from 28 January to 1 February, the exhibition received 3,226 visitors including political authorities, members of the defence forces, members of civil society, students, researchers and journalists.
Students engage with the exhibitions organized by UNIC Ouagadougou, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust,
and State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. Photo: UNIC Ouagadougou
In the framework of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, UNIC Ouagadougou, in collaboration with history teachers from educational institutions, also organized conferences about the Holocaust in ten schools in Ouagadougou. The objectives were to sensitize students and involve them in raising awareness about the Holocaust.
UNIC Ouagadougou promoted the Holocaust remembrance message of the United Nations Secretary-General through social media: Facebook, Twitter and on its website.
UNIC Pretoria, South Africa
The International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is observed each year by UNIC Pretoria in partnership with the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre and Education Africa. Two events are organized that included educational outreach with a school, and a formal public outreach event with the Jewish community and esteemed guests. These events are held on separate days and include film screenings, candle-lit vigils and interactive speaking engagements by distinguished scholars as well as the delivery of the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s message.
In 2019, two educational outreach activities were organized with 200 Grade 8 and 9 students from Adam Masebe School in Hammanskraal, Pretoria. The school is in a rural area and is regarded as having a disadvantaged background. The Holocaust forms part of the Grade 9 Social Sciences curriculum.
Students from Adam Masebe School in Hammanskraal participate in
the educational programme on Holocaust remembrance and human rights. Photo: UNIC Pretoria
Over two days, the 200 students interacted with a team from the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre using a joint educational programme developed by UNIC Pretoria, the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, and Education Africa. The students were taught key concepts about the Holocaust and about human rights. They learned about the role each person can play in ensuring that their rights, and the rights of others, are not compromised. Students also discussed how the SDGs are representative of human rights, and what their achievement by 2030 could mean for equal opportunities and a better world for all. One of the key aspects of the programme was the interaction with a Holocaust survivor, which continues to be very important to students. The students had several questions related to the survivor’s experience and her life after the Holocaust.
Holocaust survivor, Ms. Irene Klass with students from Adam Masebe High School.
Photo: UNIC Pretoria
The formal public event was also attended by the diplomatic community and Holocaust survivors. The message of the United Nations Secretary-General was delivered by UNIC Pretoria’s Director, Mr. Masimba Tafirenyika, followed by a candle-lit vigil in honour of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Guest speaker, Holocaust historian Professor Renee Poznanski, then spoke about the Holocaust, and Jews in France during and after the Holocaust.
UNIC Windhoek, Namibia
To mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, UNIC Windhoek in cooperation with UNESCO Namibia, and Windhoek High School, organised a programme on 12 February at Windhoek High School.
OYO Dance Troupe opened the event with a dance that raised the issue of the mass atrocities inflicted on the Herero and Nama at the turn of the twentieth century, and the relevance of this history to young Namibians.
OYO Dance Troupe perfrormce during Holocaust remembrance programme
organized by UNIC Windhoek. Photo: UNIC Windhoek
Students from Windhoek High School express their commitment to Holocaust remembrance and to
furthering tolerance. Photo: UNIC Windhoek
Before screening the documentary, Who Will Write Our History, UNIC Windhoek presented an overview of the educational outreach programme as well as an overview of the documentary. Learners were encouraged to take notes and write down their feelings and thoughts as they watched the film and were asked to share some of their notes with the UNIC Windhoek team or their teachers.
UNIC Yaoundé, Cameroun
The 2019 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust was observed in Cameroon on 28 January through an educational outreach programme organized by UNIC Yaoundé. Traditional rulers from the North-West region of Cameroon (Bawock, Oshie and Nkwen), representatives of NGOs, youths, students, media and United Nations staff attended the event.
The outreach programme aimed to educate students from Lycée de Tsinga and Complexe Scolaire La Gaieté about the Holocaust and to encourage them to act against discrimination, the spread of hate speech, racism and xenophobia within the school milieu and in the broader society.
The programme began with viewing of the poster exhibitions in both French and English, of The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust. UNIC Yaoundé’s National Information Officer, Mr. Jean Njita, presented and explained the posters to over 75 participants. Thereafter, Ms. Yvonne Matuturu from UNESCO read the message of UNESCO’s Director General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay. In her message, Ms. Azoulay encouraged youth to denounce violence and stand up for unity, peace and tolerance. She stressed that no one should suffer because of their colour, religion, or culture. Ms. Matuturu expressed her great desire for a world free of mass atrocity.
UNIC Yaoundé’s National Information Officer engages in discussion about the poster
exhibition The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust with student participants Photo: UNIC Yaoundé
The screening of the video message of the United Nations Secretary-General followed Ms. Matutura’s address. National Information Officer, Mr. Jean Njita, emphasised a point raised by the Secretary-General in his address that the commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust was also about educating the world about the United Nations principles of peace, tolerance and respect for human rights. Mr. Njita explained that the United Nations and the programme focused on the youth because the youth were the most at risk from misinformation and the spread of hatred and violence on the internet and social media. Mr. Njita added that increased awareness of the power of technology and its proper use was away of addressing contemporary problems of human rights violations.
Mr. Simon Seroussi, Deputy Chief of the Mission of Israel to Cameroon, outlined the horrors and tragedy of the Holocaust, emphasising the importance of preventing such acts from recurring. He urged the young people to stand up against hate speech and discrimination in Cameroon and take the message to their friends and families.
A youth group explained through poems, the pain of survivors of the Holocaust who lost their families, of those who went far from home and yearned for their loved ones, wishing to see them even for one last time. They also staged a drama performance.
Participants watched Who Will Write Our History with keen interest. A panel discussion followed the screening. UNIC Yaoundé also provided information kits comprising notebooks, magazines, the United Nations Secretary-General’s message, a brochure and flyers in French and English about the International Day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the outline of the film and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
UNIC Asunción, Paraguay
On 28 January, the United Nations in Paraguay, the Embassy of Israel and the National Congress organized a commemorative ceremony to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, the National Congress, national authorities, members of the Jewish community, special guests, descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors, representatives of the public and of the national and international press.
Senator Fernando Silva Facetti, President of the Paraguayan-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Commission, spoke on behalf of the Senate of the Nation. Mr. Alejandro Rubin, Honorary Consul of Israel in Paraguay, spoke about the Jewish Community in Paraguay. Ms. Linda Maguire, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Paraguay described the educational programme about the Holocaust and the need to learn the history to avoid genocide.
A ceremony commemorating victim of the Holocaust organized by UNIC Asunción, the
Honorary Consulate of Israel and the National Congress. Photo: UNIC Asunción
Paraguayan historian, Mr. David Velazquez Seiferheld, spoke about the persecution of Jewish people during the Second World War and the response of the Paraguayan Government and other Latin American countries.
On 8 February, the Jewish Museum of Asunción screened the documentary, Who Will Write Our History. Students from Program ACCESS from the Paraguayan-American Cultural Center visited the Jewish Museum and participated in a programme organized by the Roosevelt Library and UNIC Asunción. Before the screening, students were briefed on the history of the Holocaust. Students were given a guided tour of the museum and learned more about the conditions in the concentration and death camps. Students learned from stories written by Holocaust survivors.
UNIC Bogotá, Colombia
To mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, UNIC Bogotá, in cooperation with the Embassy of Germany, organized a commemorative event at the former home of the Goethe-Institut. Members of the Jewish community in Colombia, as well as diplomatic representatives from over 25 countries, and members of the German community in the country, attended the ceremony. The main message of the event was a call to remember the Holocaust and to fight antisemitism.
Diplomatic representatives from over 25 countries attended the commemorative ceremony organized
UNIC Bogotá, in cooperation with the Embassy of Germany. Photo: UNIC Bogotá
H.E. Mr. Peter Ptassek, Ambassador of Germany to Colombia, thanked the survivors present and regretted the suffering of and injustices against Jewish people, indicating that although "talking about the Holocaust is painful, it is necessary." Students from the Colegio Andino – Deutsche Schule of Bogotá and the Colombo-Hebrew School were also present at the event.
The message of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres,
screened at the commemorative ceremony. Photo: UNIC Bogotá
Holocaust survivors lit six candles. Each candle represented one million victims. The candle-lighting ceremony was a symbolic commitment to remember the victims of the Holocaust, not to forget the Holocaust, and to prevent similar events from ever happening again. The seventh candle was lit by the granddaughter of one of the Holocaust survivors to keep the hope alive so that what happened in the Holocaust is never repeated and that actions inciting hatred against others cease forever.
UNIC Lima, Peru
To mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, UNIC Lima in partnership with the Embassy of Israel in Peru, organized the exhibition titled Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. The exhibition was displayed in the central patio of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs´ Cultural Centre in downtown Lima.
The Ambassador of Israel to Peru, H.E. Mr. Asaf Ichilevich, addresses visitors at opening
ceremony of the exhibition. Photo: UNIC Lima
The exhibition opening ceremony on 28 January was attended by the Ambassador of Israel to Peru, H.E. Mr. Asaf Ichilevich; the National Information Officer of UNIC Lima, Mr. Christian Sánchez; Holocaust survivor, Ms. Halina Wolloh; the Ambassador of Germany to Peru, H.E. Ms. Emily Haber, and other local authorities. Peruvian diplomat Mr. Jose Maria Barreto was remembered and honoured. Mr. Barreto saved 48 Jews including four children and for this deed, has been recognised as a Righteous Among the Nations. UNIC Lima also designed and produced a four-page leaflet introducing the exhibition. The leaflet was distributed amongst visitors.
UNIC Mexico City, Mexico
UNIC Mexico City organized two events related to Holocaust Remembrance. The first event was held in Metepec on 25 January. In partnership with local authorities and civil society entities, the exhibition The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust, was installed in the public square, "El Calvario". The message of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a message from the UNESCO representative in Mexico,and the documentary, Who Will Write Our History were screened on a giant inflatable screen placed in the public square. More than 700 people –families, children, senior citizens, groups of local schools, teachers and authorities – participated in a candle-lighting ceremony in commemoration of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Local children engaging with the exhibit The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust,
installed in "El Calvario” public square. Photo: UNIC Mexico City
The message of the United Nations Secretary-General screened in "El Calvario"
public square, during the event organized by UNIC Mexico City. Photo: UNIC Mexico City
On 28 January, an official commemorative event was held in Mexico City, in the Museum of Memory and Tolerance, in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Commission to Prevent Discrimination. Officials, diplomats, representatives of the Jewish community, representatives of other religions and the media, attended the event. The Director of UNIC Mexico City, Mr. Giancarlo Summa, delivered remarks and read the message of the United Nations Secretary-General.
UNIC Mexico City covered both events on its social media. They also worked with the UNESCO office in the country to produce short video interviews with Holocaust survivors living in Mexico. The videos were posted on United Nations websites and social media.
UNIC Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
On 26 January, UNIC Port of Spain engaged in dialogue with 80 Model UN students from schools across Trinidad and Tobago on the theme "Dare to stand up for Human Rights". UNIC Port of Spain presented a short history of the Holocaust and the students discussed what constituted genocide, how to recognize its warning signs and what each person can do to end all forms of discrimination. Representative from the Rotary Club were also present.
On 29 January, the UNIC invited 25 students to a screening of Who Will Write Our History. The students considered what it would might have been like to be a young person during the Holocaust and how they felt about the film. They were also introduced to The Butterfly Project. Some of the students volunteered to create their own butterflies and return them to the UNIC.
Students from the University of the West Indies engage with the exhibitions about the Holocaust.
Photo: UNIC Port of Spain
From 30 January to 3 February, the UNIC in partnership with the UN Depository Library at the University of the West Indies campus in Trinidad and Tobago, put up its travelling exhibitions, State of Deception: the Power of Nazi Propagada and The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust on the ground floor of the university's Alma Jordan Main Library. It drew the attention of students, staff and visitors. People were surprised to learn about the extent of the horrors of the Holocaust and that survivors found refuge in the Caribbean. They were also surprised to learn that people from these islands were also part of the global effort to liberate the victims of the Nazi regime
UNIC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
At its premises in Itamaraty Palace, UNIC Rio de Janeiro organized an event for 60 people, bringing together the Jewish and Kale communities, survivors, teachers and students, in commemoration of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Survivors shared their experiences with the audience. The event also illustrated how local schools teach the subject of the Holocaust, and an exhibition of students´ essays and drawings was opened. Two special video features were produced and disseminated to Lusophone countries and ONU News.
Asia and Pacific
UNIC Dhaka, Bangladesh
UNIC Dhaka, with the cooperation of Dhaka University Model UN Association, ASA University Bangladesh, Daffodil International University and Hope Multimedia, hosted a poster exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust and held a panel discussion at the UNIC library on 29 January.
The exhibition was jointly opened by Prof. Dr. Farhana Helal Mehtab, Dean of the Law Faculty of Daffodil International University, and Mr. Ari Gaitanis, Senior Communication Advisor in the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office. Some 25 students and guests from three universities took part in the panel discussion and Q&A session moderated by UNIC National Information Officer, Mr. Md. Moniruzzaman. The speakers and students expressed their solidarity with the victims of the Holocaust and their determination to prevent any form of hatred, atrocities and persecution in future. In their discussions, they considered the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971 and Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in relation to the Holocaust.
UNIC Islamabad, Pakistan
On 28 January, the United Nations in Pakistan observed the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust by screening the video message of the United Nations Secretary-General and the documentary Who Will Write Our History. The event took place at the UN House in Islamabad.
In his opening remarks, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, Mr. Neil Buhne, briefed the United Nations staff about the significance of the day. He emphasized that the key reason for the creation of the United Nations was to take collective action to prevent the repetition of the horrors of the Second World War and to protect the world and humanity from similar events.
UNIC Kathmandu, Nepal
At a ceremony on 24 January marking the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the United Nations and three embassies working in Nepal expressed their commitment to stand up for human rights and never again to allow anyone to become the victim of genocide anywhere in the world. The commitments were made by Ms. Valerie Julliand, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Nepal and Director of UNIC Kathmandu;
Ms. Wenny Kusuma, UN Women Nepal Country Representative; H.E. Mr. Roland Schäfer, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany; H.E Ms. Veronica Cody, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nepal; and H.E. Mr. Benny Omer, Ambassador of Israel.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ms. Julliand said: "We cannot forget the past. Our commemoration of this day is a reminder of the horrors that can emerge from discrimination and intolerance. Remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust, the UN would like to take a stand to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender expression and/or gender identity and to continue to lead hand in hand".
H.E. Mr. Benny Omer recited the special Jewish prayer of mourning and remembrance, Yizkor, and praised the courage of the diplomats who risked their own lives to save thousands of Jewish people during the Second World War. He explained that educating the future generation about the Holocaust is a way to prevent such crimes from happening again.
Students from nine schools participated in the screening of Who Will Write Our History
and the discussion on Holocaust remembrance. Photo: UNIC Kathmandu
Also honoured at the ceremony were Chiune Sugihara, Japanese Consul in Lithuania; Captain Francis Foley, UK Consul in Germany; and George Ferdinand Duckwitz, German Maritime Attaché in Denmark, who were recognised as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives during the Holocaust to save Jewish people from the Nazis. H. E. Mr. Roland Schäfer, while reading out the life story of George Ferdinand Duckwitz, shared these thoughts: "Our past defines our present life and our future. Whether the past imprisons incoming generation or liberates them, that depends on how we deal with it. Telling the truth, prosecuting crimes, compensating victims and preventing that those crimes from ever happening again- that is the path towards freedom".
Audeamus Music Foundation played excerpts from Schindler’s List. A replica of Jerusalem’s Western Wall of Peace was set up at the venue for participants to post their prayers and messages. The ceremony included the exhibition Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, dedicated to the diplomats recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Ms. Zane Petre, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Nepal observed that, "Preserving and transmitting the memory is a duty to those who lost their lives, and to our children. Memories have to shape our present and our future. The European Union continues to stand against hate speeches and antisemitic activities thereby advocating for peace, mutual co-existence and progress all over the world".
UNIC Kathmandu also arranged three separate screenings of Who Will Write Our History to over 200 high school students from nine schools. The UNIC explained to the students the importance of remembering the Holocaust and its relevance for Nepalese youths. This was followed by interactions with the students. Ms. Julliand explained the background to the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. She explained that the film, Who Will Write Our History paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. During the discussion after the screening, the audience exchanged their views about the Holocaust and the documentary, as well as about the importance of reminding the world about this human tragedy to prevent the possibility of similar tragic events happening again.
UNIC Manila, Philippines
On 24 January, at the theatre of the Emilio Aguinaldo College in Paco, Manila, UNIC Manila in partnership with the Embassy of Israel to the Philippines, held a student forum titled, "The Undeniable Truth". The theme of the forum was Holocaust denial. About 500 students and faculty of Emilio Aguinaldo College participated in the event.
The event also featured a piano concerto by Dr. Amit Weiner accompanied by musicians of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. They performed "Music in Times of Tragedy," a collection of musical scores by Polish, Czech and Hungarian composers who died in concentration camps during the Holocaust. The event was well-attended by members of the diplomatic corps from the embassies of Russia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, among others, and by the Jewish community in the Philippines.
UNIC New Delhi, India
The International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust was observed by the UNIC for India and Bhutan in association with the UNIC’s traditional partners, the Alliance Française de Delhi and the Embassy of Israel to India. The 2019 commemoration was organized in partnership with 18 diplomatic missions.
The observance included an art installation organised by UNIC India, of an iron skeleton with a metal skirt onto which visitors pinned uplifting messages and lessons learnt from the history of the Holocaust, as well as two exhibitions: Spots of Light: To be a Woman in the Holocaust sponsored by the Embassy of Israel, and The Good Samaritans from Markowa sponsored by the Embassy of Poland. The ceremony was divided into in two phases – the morning session was held with school students and the formal evening ceremony was held for diplomatic partners and others.
More than 150 students from ten schools from Delhi and its neighbouring areas attended the morning session. After screening the video message of the United Nations Secretary-General, the National Information Officer, Mr. Rajiv Chandran, addressed the students about the Holocaust and discussed what the UN is doing to prevent another similar tragedy. Following Mr. Chandran’s remarks, the film Nyosha was screened. The film left the audience emotional and thoughtful. This led to an extensive discussion and a Q&A session with representatives from seven diplomatic missions about the Holocaust and its relevance. Ms. Avigail Spira, spokesperson from the Embassy of Israel, discussed her connection to the Holocaust and the impact it has had on her.
Notes written by students about the Holocaust was pinned
on the art installation set up by UNIC New Delhi. Photo: UNIC New Delhi
Lighting memorial candles at the commemorative ceremony. Photo: UNIC New Delhi
Pensive, the students then wrote down their thoughts and reactions onto cards that were then pinned to the UNIC art installation. Teachers accompanying the students noted how meaningful the event was and congratulated the UNIC on highlighting contemporary issues of concern against the backdrop of history.
Over 150 diplomats, media persons and civil society representatives participated in the evening event. The diplomats were taken through the two exhibitions and viewed the art installation. The official ceremony followed. In her remarks, Ms. Maya Kadosh, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel pointed out that the Holocaust was not just a Jewish issue but a human tragedy. The remembrance ceremony ended with all the guests lighting candles in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Indian national television covered the evening observance and broadcast it as part of its national news channel, bringing the Holocaust commemoration to over 400 million viewers.
UNIC Yangon, Myanmar
A ceremony commemorating the memory of the victims of the Holocaust was held on 30 January in Yangon. Over 250 people attended, including academics, diplomats, UN personnel and students. The exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust was displayed at the ceremony and a UNIC staff member was interviewed on Youth TV. After the event, the exhibition was taken to the Goethe-Institut, to be displayed to be displayed at the concert commemorating the Holocaust.
Over 250 guests participated in the commemoration ceremony. Photo: UNIC Yangon
The exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust on display at the
Goethe-Institut, Yangon. Photo: UNIC Yangon
The concert was a collaboration between the Embassy of Israel, the German Embassy, the Goethe-Institut and UNIC Yangon. It consisted of a joint performance by a pianist and a vocalist from Germany, a clarinetist from Israel, and two Myanmar musicians playing the double bass and the cello. The highlight of the evening was the testimony of a Holocaust survivor. The concert was open to the public. After the end of the exhibition at the Goethe-Institut, the posters were displayed at the United Nations compound in Yangon.
Europe and CIS
UNO Almaty, Kazakhstan
On 28 January, the exhibition Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations was opened in the United Nations building in Almaty. Among the visitors at the opening were representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, ambassadors, consuls, representatives of civil society organizations, university professors and students and United Nations staff.
The programme included the screening of the video message by the United Nations
Secretary-General; a welcome speech by H.E. Mr. Ruslan Bultrikov, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Office in Almaty, and a message from Mr. Norimasa Shimomura, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan. Holocaust remembrance and education activities included the screening of Who Will Write Our History.
H.E. Ms. Liat Wexelman, Ambassador of Israel to Kazakhstan, praised UNO Almaty for the Holocaust remembrance and educational programme and the UNO’s dedication to preventing future genocide.
UNO Minsk, Belarus
UNO Minsk participated in a commemorative event on 25 January to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Beit Simcha Centre for Progressive Judaism hosted representatives of foreign embassies and international organizations, including the European Union. Minsk ghetto survivors, war veterans, representatives of schools and youth organisations also took part in the event. The participants lit candles to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust in Europe and read a memorial prayer and a prayer for peace.
Speaking at the event, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Belarus, Ms. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki quoted the United Nations Secretary-General’s call to stand against growing antisemitism: “We see the proliferation of neo-Nazi groups and attempts to rewrite history and distort the facts of the Holocaust. We see bigotry moving at lightning speed across the Internet. We see intolerance entering mainstream politics -- targeting minorities, Muslims, migrants and refugees, and exploiting the anger and anxiety of a changing world.”
Two exhibitions were opened as part of the event: At the Bidding of the Heart was created by the UNO Minsk in partnership with Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center to show the history of saving the Jews in the occupied Soviet territories, including Belarus, during the Holocaust. The second exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda illustrates how the Nazis used propaganda to win the wide support of the electorate in Germany and to justify the war and mass murder.
A candle lighting ceremony of memory and peace was conducted at the memorial dedicated to Jews deported from European countries and murdered in the Minsk Ghetto during the Holocaust. Youth groups and survivors of the ghetto and concentration camps participated in an educational lecture and workshop conducted in Minsk.
From 31 January to 1 February two mobile exhibitions – At the Bidding of the Heart and State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda were displayed during the Pedagogical Conference for teachers from Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine in the city of Gomel. It is planned that in March and April the exhibitions will be transferred to the Belarusian cities of Grodno and Mogilev for further display.
UNIS Geneva, Switzerland
In Geneva, the ceremony to commemorate the International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust was held on 28 January. More than 300 guests attended the ceremony, which included speeches by Mr. Michael Moller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Ms Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High-Commissioner for Human Rights; Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, and Ambassador H.E. Mr. Walter Stevens, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in Geneva. 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, Mr. Benjamin Orenstein, travelled from Lyon, France, to share his testimony. The commemorative ceremony was followed by a concert by a musical ensemble from the Orchestre des Nations.
On Tuesday 29 January 2019, Mr. Orenstein returned to the Palais des Nations to share his testimony with over 150 middle-school students from Collège Le Joran, and several visiting students from Abat Oliba CEU University. Mr. Orenstein’s story captured the young audience’s interest for over an hour - a meeting that will certainly remain etched in their minds.
Three exhibitions were held at the Palais des Nations, from 24 January to 8 February. The exhibition, Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, was presented by the European Union and the Permanent Mission of Israel. The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, with the support of the International Council of Jewish Women, presented the exhibition Passports for Life, showcasing the efforts of Polish diplomats and Jewish activists in Bern, Switzerland, to save hundreds of Jewish people during the Second World War by providing them with illegally obtained passports for Latin American countries. Finally, a third exhibition, Saving and Developing Oskar Schindler’s Ark was presented by the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic and the Arks Foundation, highlighting efforts to conserve the famous Schindler’s factory.
Screenings of Who Will Write Our History were organized on three campuses of the Geneva International School. An estimated 200 students watched the film, which was introduced by a representative of UNIS Geneva who provided details on the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme.
UNIC Moscow, Russia
UNIC Moscow organized a series of Holocaust-related events for school and university students, and young scholars. On 24 January, Mr. Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of UNIC Moscow, addressed the organizers and winners of the 18th International Competition of Holocaust-related essays titled “Holocaust Remembrance – The Way to Tolerance”. Some of the best entries come from rural and remote regions of Russia. The event was held on the premises of the Memorial Synagogue on the Poklonnaya Hill, which is part of the memorial complex built in memory of those who perished during the Second World War.
Mr. Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of UNIC Moscow, read out the United Nations Secretary-General’s message, and then shared his perspective of the Holocaust and its importance. Mr. Kuznetsov then joined the other guests of honour in presenting the awards.
From 27 to 29 January Mr. Kuznetsov travelled to the city of Yekaterinburg to contribute to preserving the memory of Holocaust victims in Russia’s major industrial, education and research hub in the Urals. Governmental authorities, Jewish community and youth participated in commemorative events and learning activities.
As a co-organizer and key speaker, Mr. Kuznetsov participated in the opening of an exhibition entitled Shoah – How Was It Humanly Possible (brought to Russia by Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center and the Embassy of Israel to Russia) on the premises of the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg. He read out the United Nations Secretary-General’s message, which was well received by the audience. The keynote speakers included the Governor of Sverdlovsk Region, Mr. Yevgeny Kuivashev; Deputy Head of the Diplomatic Mission of Israel to Russia, H.E. Mr. Keren Cohen Gat; Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Yeltsin Center, Mr. Alexander Drozdov; First Deputy Chairman of United Nations Association-Russia, Mr. Alexey Borisov; Ombudsman for Sverdlovsk Region, Ms. Tatiana Merzlyakova; and Chief Rabbi for Yekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk Region, Rabbi Zelig Ashkenazi.
The opening ceremony was the first in a series of events dedicated to Holocaust Remembrance in that region. Events included the screening of The Last Flight of Petr Ginz, and thematic panel discussions and lectures for students and young audiences. The materials sent through the Department of Global Communication’s Outreach Division made an impressive educational package, which was shared with the participants.
In the course of the meeting between Mr. Kuznetsov and Mr. Victor Koksharov, Rector of the Urals Federal University and Chairman of the Urals branch of Russian United Nations Association, the parties visited the United Nations Hall, recently opened on the University premises. Mr. Kuznetsov presented the Rector and faculty with a collection of educational materials, developed by the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme.
During his visit to Yekaterinburg, Mr. Kuznetsov also made an appearance (interview available here) on the Sverdlovsk Regional television channel – as a guest of the “In Focus” programme where he talked about the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance calendar, as well as the commemorative events that took place in the city of Yekaterinburg.
The Holocaust Remembrance Week in the city of Yekaterinburg, initiated by UNIC Moscow and the Israeli Embassy, with support from the Russian Jewish Congress and the Holocaust Foundation, was in line with a well-established tradition of annual commemorative events, which the regional authorities, academics and the Jewish community have confirmed they would be willing to carry on in the future.
As part of the upcoming projects related to Holocaust remembrance, the UNIC Moscow team met with the Director of the Yevgeny Primakov Preparatory School (Moscow) to discuss a future joint event commemorating the victims of Holocaust. The event will include the exhibition, The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust translated in Russian, as well as the screening of The Last Flight of Peter Ginz documentary and a lecture on Holocaust lessons for Preparatory School students.
UNIS Vienna, Austria
The poster exhibition The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust was the centrepiece of an event held at the Vienna International Centre to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The commemorative ceremony was organized by the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations (Vienna) and United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna and was attended by guests, diplomats and United Nations staff.
The International Day of Commemoration is a day of mourning. The cruel murder of so many millions in the name of hate remains a fresh shock, one that we do well to recall with a renewed commitment to never forget and never allow, ever again. It is also a day for action, in memory of the victims, and to honour the courage of the survivors, the soldiers and other heroes who risked their lives.
Ambassador H.E. Ms. Talya Lador-Fresher, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (Vienna), said: "I deeply believe that commemoration ceremonies like this one are a good opportunity for us all to go back to the basics and remind ourselves of our roles, as diplomats and United Nations personnel working in this great building, the Vienna International Centre."
The ceremony also included the recitation of a prayer by Chief Cantor Shmuel Barzilai and a musical performance by "Duo Shira" with Shira Karmon and Ronen Nissan. Mr. Fedotov then read the message of the United Nations Secretary-General.
On 28 and 29 January, UNIS Vienna, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Israel and the Czech Republic to the United Nations (Vienna), organized two screenings of the documentary about Alfred Hirsch, titled Dear Fredy. The first screening formed part of UNIS Vienna's Ciné-ONU monthly film screening in the city centre. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with the film's director, Mr. Rubi Gat; the Secretary-General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, Ms. Hannah Lessing, and the Deputy Director of the Terezín Memorial in the Czech Republic, Mr. Vojtech Blodig. The second screening took place at the Vienna International Centre.