Young participants at a Holocaust Remembrance event with Mona Golabek, concert pianist, founder the non-profit organization Hold On To Your Music, and author of “The Children of Willesden Lane". Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
Student Workshop "Defending Human Rights and Justice for All - The Legacy of Anne Frank"
Anne Frank’s family fled Nazi Germany and found refuge in the Netherlands. However, when Anne was thirteen, the family was forced once more to leave their home to go into hiding, to escape the Nazis. The interactive workshop helped students learn about the Anne’s life and experiences while living in hiding, and her diary that lives on as a legacy and inspiration for young people today. Through testimonies of other young people who experienced more recent atrocity crimes, and finally that of a young refugee fleeing conflict in the 21st Century, students were able to reflect on what they can do to defend the rights of refugees and contribute to building together a world that is just and peaceful. The workshop took place on 8 November 2019, it was organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, together with the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and Facing History and Ourselves. Welcoming remarks were delivered by Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, and H.E. Mr. Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The 70th Anniversary of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl"
The Department of Public Information organized a student event on Thursday, 9 November 2017, to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl". More than 500 high school students gathered for the event, “From Desperation to Inspiration: The 70th Anniversary of the Anne Frank Diary” to honour Anne Frank’s legacy and learn about the Holocaust and its devastating impact on the Jewish community.
Anne, a young Jewish girl born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929, wrote a diary of her experiences while hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during the Second World War. Between 1942 and 1944, while living in an attic with her family, Anne transferred her fears and feelings onto paper until she was deported and died at the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen at age 15 in 1945. Students also left United Nations Headquarters with a better understanding of the difficulties facing refugees and migrants in today’s world. Students read excerpts from four diaries or memoirs written by other young people whose lives had been deeply affected by discrimination and conflict. A subsequent conversation, entitled “Repairing the World – Our Obligation towards the ‘Other’”, helped students empathize with the situation of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee boy.
“Today, we have much to learn from Anne Frank’s bravery and the legacy she has left us”, said United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Alison Smale, who welcomed the students, before the screening of the film Short Life of Anne Frank, and the reading of passages from Anne’s diary. Ms. Smale applauded “the efforts of the Netherlands to preserve the memory of Anne Frank and support Holocaust remembrance and education”. Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, H.E. Ms. Lise Gregoire added: “Prevention starts with the respect for human rights, with equal treatment for all human beings, with rule of law. It is our duty here at the United Nations to make sure that governments around the world take up that responsibility. For me and many diplomats, Anne Frank’s diary inspires us to do that work every day”.
Students also observed the 9 November 1938 pogrom against the Jewish people known as “Kristallnacht”, or Night of Broken Glass, the two-day surge of violence that tore through Jewish communities throughout Nazi Germany and areas under Nazi control on 9 November and 10 November 1938. This brutal episode became known as Kristallnacht for the shards of shattered glass that littered German streets after the devastation. The event was organized by the Education Outreach Section in partnership with the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, New York, and Facing History and Ourselves, New York.
Multimedia Presentation "The Children of Willesden Lane"
On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day on the Hebrew Calendar, the students were told the story of a young Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis on the Kinderstransport. On 26 April 2017, more than 450 middle and high school students attended a presentation, “The Children of Willesden Lane”, at New York Headquarters. Through visuals, music, and voice, pianist Mona Golabek captivated the students as she recounted the journey of her mother, Lisa Jura. Lisa was the same age as most of the students attending the event when she escaped the Nazis as one of 9,000 to 10,000 children rescued by the British Government on the Kinderstransport.
After the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938 (a Nazi-government organised campaign of violence against Jewish people in Germany and territory annexed by Germany) the British Government allowed an unspecified number of children to enter Great Britain as unaccompanied refugees on temporary travel visas. The Kindertransport was considered to be a temporary measure and the refugee children were expected to return to their families once the “crisis” was over. Most of the children were Jewish: most would never again see their families, murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Jan Kickert spoke of his close connection to Lisa’s story. He had grown up in the same quarter of Vienna as Lisa and had taken the same tram that Lisa took for her piano lessons before the Nazis destroyed that part of her childhood. Ambassador Kickert urged the students to learn from the history of the Holocaust and to remain vigilant against prejudice. Music was a refuge for Lisa, a connection back to the family and life she had left behind in Vienna. The event illustrated how Lisa’s music remains a bridge between the past and the present as Ms. Golabek seamlessly interwove into the telling of Lisa’s story the very music that Lisa had played that had sustained her as a young refugee.
It was organised by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Austria, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the New York City Department of Education, Facing History and Ourselves and the Hold onto Your Music Foundation.