2021 Holocaust Remembrance


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


Glasses of those murdered at Auschwitz Birkenau Nazi German concentration and death camp (1941-1945). Credit: Paweł Sawicki, Auschwitz Memorial



Calendar of events

Thu, 21 Jan | Wed, 27 Jan | Thu, 28 Jan | Thu, 4 Feb | Thu, 11 Feb


“Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”

The theme guiding Holocaust remembrance and education in 2021 is “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”. It focuses on the measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust to begin the process of recovery and reconstitution of individuals, community, and systems of justice. Integral to the process of reconstitution was the accurate recording of the historical account of what happened before and during the Holocaust. Challenging the denial and distortion of the historical events was interwoven in the processes of recovery and reconstitution. The theme examines the contribution of the responses to the victims of the Holocaust, and of the survivors, to addressing the needs of the contemporary world, and to the historical record of the Holocaust. Against a global context of rising antisemitism and increasing levels of disinformation and hate speech, Holocaust education and remembrance is even more urgent, as is the development of an historical literacy to counter repeated attempts to deny and distort the history of the Holocaust. 


Thursday, 21 January 2021

Panel Discussion “Women and Genocide” 

Watch the recording

What has been the impact of genocide on women? How did women respond? To what extent did it matter whether you were a woman? Experts considered these questions as they examined the experience of women and the place of gender in the Holocaust, and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. This is Episode 4 of the live discussion series Beyond the long shadow: engaging with difficult histories.


Monday, 25 January 2021

Park East Synagogue Holocaust Commemoration Service

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Park East Synagogue hosted a virtual Holocaust Commemoration Service marking the 76th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and Rabbi Arthur Schneier convened for a discussion under the theme “Survivors’ Plea – Holocaust Education”. The event included the participation of the diplomatic corps and feature Chief Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, Park East Synagogue Choir and Maestro Russell Ger, Conductor.


Wednesday, 27 January 2021


Discussion “Lessons of the Holocaust – A United Nations Perspective on Global Antisemitism”

An event with H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and United Nations Focal Point to monitor antisemitism. The event was organized by B’nai B’rith International.


United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

Download the Programme and watch the recording of the Commemoration here

The Holocaust memorial ceremony was organized jointly by the United Nations Department of Global Communications and UNESCO, in cooperation with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The event included remarks by the Secretary-General António Guterres and the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. The ceremony included a key note address by the Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel as well as remarks by the President of the United Nations General Assembly and representatives of the United States and Israel. In addition to the high-level remarks, the ceremony included traditional prayers, music, a dialogue between Holocaust survivor Irene Butter and her grand-daughter, as well as statements by academics, artists and youths active in the field of Holocaust education and remembrance.


Panel Discussion “Holocaust Denial and Distortion”

Following the ceremony, leading experts in the field of Holocaust research and education and prominent voices against antisemitism discussed the dangers of Holocaust denial and distortion during an online round table. Participants included Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust studies at Emory University, Hella Pick, journalist and Kindertransport refugee, Philipp Sands, writer and lawyer, Marian Turski, President of the Jewish Historical Institute Association and Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee and Robert Williams, chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust denial. IHRA President Amb. Michaela Kuechler, UNESCO Special-Envoy Serge Klarsfeld and UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention Alice Wairimu Nderitu also contributed to the discussion. The panel discussion was moderated by Hala Gorani, anchor and correspondend for CNN International and was produced by CNN.


United Nations Chamber Music Society Virtual Concert

Watch the recording of the concert here

On 27 January 2021, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, the UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council, performed a virtual concert in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The classical music programme featured Jewish composers, to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again.


Thursday, 28 January 2021

Panel Discussion on Nazi Rise to Power and the Weimar Constitution

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The panel considered the democracy that existed before the Nazis came to power, and the extent to which the legal framework in place contributed to the rise of the Nazis, and the collapse of the Weimar Republic. The discussion was organized in partnership with the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IJL), and con-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Germany and Israel to the United Nations.


Thursday, 4 February 2021

Civil Society Briefing “Childhood after Atrocity Crimes: Hope for Peace, Dignity and Equality”

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The briefing examined the approaches taken to support children who survived the Holocaust and considered how these approaches contributed to models adopted for contemporary practice for working with young people who have survived atrocity crimes.


Thursday, 11 February 2021

Film discussion “The Windermere Children” 

Watch the recording

“The Windermere Children” is a biographical drama about the recovery and rehabilitation of 300 young orphaned Jewish children who survived the Holocaust and were sent to the United Kingdom after the end of the Second World War. The film was commissioned by the BBC and ZDF Germany, and it was co-production between Wall to Wall Media and Warner Bros International Germany (WBITVP Germany). H.E. Mr. Jonathan Allen, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations delivered opening remarks. The film discussion included Mr. Michael Samuels, film director, Ms. Nancy Bornat, film producer, Ms. Joanna Millan, Holocaust survivor, and Mr. Trevor Avery, historian and director of Lake District Holocaust Project. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Global Communications.  


Secretary-General's Message 

on The International Day of Commemoration 

in memory of the victims of The Holocaust

27 January 2021





Remarks to the Park East Synagogue and United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Service

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkır, President of the 75th session of the General

Remarks by Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

Remarks by Ms. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Remarks by Mr. Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Richard M. Mills, Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Mission to the United Nations 

Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Statement by UN Special Experts