2021 Holocaust Remembrance Week


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


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

Watch the recording
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

Watch the recording

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”

Watch the recording

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










Media Coverage


UN chief calls for urgent action against neo-Nazis in Holocaust remembrance message

Stand against antisemitism with the ‘utmost determination’ – German Chancellor Merkel 

PODCAST: Speaking up and confronting hatred, in memory of the Holocaust

US witnessed ‘echoes of the Holocaust’ during breach of the Capitol, says concentration camp survivor 





2021 Holocaust Remembrance Activities around the World


Africa | Americas | Asia and Pacific | Europe

The United Nations Information Centres and Resident Coordinators organized events and activities in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. In several instances, UNICS and RCOS collaborated with UNESCO field offices to produce outreach activities. This year UNICs organized Holocaust remembrance and educational activities in 15 countries, under the theme “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”, including online and in-person events, op-ed placements, and production and dissemination of information materials in local languages.  



UNIC Accra, Ghana

On the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Mr. Charles Abani joined the Embassy of Israel in Ghana and the Embassy of Germany in Ghana at a ceremony to reaffirm the UN's resolve to uphold human rights, and to encourage people everywhere to eschew bigotry, hatred and prejudice to prevent the recurrence of the Holocaust. 

A panel discussion involving the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Mr. Joseph Whittal and Mr. Abani situated Holocaust remembrance within the local context. 85-year-old Ms. Betty Eppel recounted her experience as a child survivor of the Holocaust via Zoom. UNIC Accra provided technical support in the planning of commemoration and delivered opening remarks at the event. 

Commemoration of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of The Holocaust in Accra, Ghana. Photo: UNIC Ghana
Commemorative event on the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of The Holocaust in Accra, Ghana. Photo: UNIC Ghana


UNIC Bujumbura, Burundi

UNIC Bujumbura disseminated the Secretary-General's message on the International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust to local media and through social media. The message was placed in the daily newspaper Net Press on 26 January 2021.


UNIC Lagos, Nigeria

On 28 January, UNIC Lagos, in collaboration with Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development (AICD) held a virtual event in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust under the theme, “Addressing Rising Antisemitism, Disinformation and Hate Speech in Nigeria”. Dr. Martin Ejidike, the UN Advisor on Human Rights in Nigeria in his opening remarks called for the moral commitment of all peoples and the political commitment of government to be strengthened to ensure future generations can understand the causes of the Holocaust, and reflect on its consequences in order to avoid a repetition. The keynote speaker, Dr. Jide Jimoh of the Department of Journalism, Lagos State University highlighted the role of the media in conflict resolution. He advised that Communication and Information Literacy education be used to address the spate of disinformation, fake news and hate speech for media and increased level of education, persuasion and enlightenment for people in the society, urging everyone to rise up to their social responsibilities.

The film “Path to Nazi Genocide” and the video message of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres were screened at the virtual event. The zoom meeting had 116 participants.

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Virtual event on Holocaust remembrance organized by UNIC Lagos and Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development. Photo: UNIC Lagos


UNIC Lusaka, Zambia

The National Information Officer of UNIC Lusaka, Mr. Mark Maseko and Ms. Memory Chipeta, a Grade 11 student from a local high school in Lusaka, were featured in a video compilation for the GA-mandated ceremony on the International Day of Holocaust Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The compilation includes renowned Holocaust historians and scholars, Holocaust museum director, youth Human Rights activist, and filmmaker. The commemoration was screened globally on 27 January 2021.


Ms. Memory Chipeta and Mr. Mark Maseko were featured in a video compilation screened during the commemorative ceremony on the International Day of
Holocaust Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Photo: screenshot taken from video by UNTV.


UNIC Pretoria, South Africa

Mr. Masimba Tafirenyika, Director of UNIC Pretoria attended the virtual event held on 27 January to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust jointly hosted by UNIC Pretoria, the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Southern Africa. Mr. Tafirenyika made brief remarks, followed by the screening of the Secretary-General’s video message and speeches by other guests including Mr. Martin Schäfer, Ambassador of Germany to South Africa, and Professor Aomar Boum who delivered the keynote address about the history of the Jews in North Africa. Holocaust survivors shared messages and a candle lighting ceremony was held. The virtual event was attended by more than 200 participants.(Watch the event)