Renowned Artists to Encourage Holocaust Education at United Nations-Sponsored Event, 28 April

Note No. 6409
17 April 2014

Renowned Artists to Encourage Holocaust Education at United Nations-Sponsored Event, 28 April

17 April 2014
Press Release
Note No. 6409
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

Renowned Artists to Encourage Holocaust Education


At United Nations-Sponsored Event, 28 April


A group of diverse artists will discuss creative ways of conveying the universal lessons of the Holocaust through the powerful medium of the arts on 28 April, at United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The event is organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information’s Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations and the World Jewish Congress.  It will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in Conference Room 1 of the Conference Building.  The event is open to the public and free of cost; registration is required.

This dynamic multimedia programme will be presented by accomplished artists in the fields of dance, literature, film and music.  Panellists will include choreographer Stephen Mills of Ballet Austin; Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren, author Nava Semel; Academy award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis; Professor Olga Gershenson of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Professor Shirli Gilbert of the University of Southampton and Clive Marks, founder of the World ORT Music during the Holocaust project.  The event will open with remarks by Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information;  David Roet, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations; and Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has long advocated Holocaust education around the world.  "The Holocaust was an assault on Jewish life and an affront to human dignity.  The United Nations is strongly committed to conveying its universal lessons, including through the formidable power of the arts," he said.

Each of the event’s presenters has gained critical acclaim in his or her field.  In 2005, Mr. Mills led 13 organizations through a community-wide human rights collaboration that culminated in Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project.  This ballet, which premiered in Austin in 2005, was inspired by the life of Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren.  Participants will learn why this project earned Mr. Mills the Audrey and Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award by the Anti-Defamation League in 2006.  Please visit

Ms. Semel is a renowned Israeli author who has published books, plays, poetry and screenplays.  The daughter of two Holocaust survivors, Ms. Semel will discuss her work as an author writing from the perspective of a second-generation Holocaust survivor.  Her novel, And the Rat Laughed, will soon be made into a feature film.  Her latest novel, Rosh Akum, [Head on Backwards] came out in 2012.  Ms. Semel is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 Tel Aviv Award for Woman of the Year in Literature.  In this presentation, star of Rose, a one-woman show about a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, and human rights champion Ms. Dukakis will perform a reading of Ms. Semel’s work.  Please visit

An expert in Holocaust cinema, Professor Gershenson will provide an overview of the genre and discuss her recently published book titled The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe (2013).  This study focuses on unknown, forgotten or banned Holocaust films in the former Soviet Union, which reflect how Russian artists tried to expose Hitler’s insidious plot against the Jews during the Second World War.  Please visit

Professor Gilbert will present an overview of the World ORT “Music during the Holocaust” project, a diverse collection of sound recordings and in-depth articles on composers and musicians who created music during the Holocaust-era.  The website grew out of her book Music in the Holocaust, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.  An interactive map facilitates the exploration of musical life in ghettos and camps across Europe.  The inspiration for the site came from Mr. Marks, who was granted the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 and administers the Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, which helps to fund the project.  Please visit

Seating will be available for the event on a first-come, first–served basis.  Guests may register for the event online now at  For media accreditation, please visit

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme was established by General Assembly resolution 60/7 in 2006 to further education about and remembrance of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide.  For more information on this multifaceted programme, please visit:

The World Jewish Congress is an international umbrella organization whose mission is to address the interests and needs of Jews and Jewish communities throughout the world.  Founded in Geneva in 1936 to unite the Jewish people and mobilize the world against the Nazi onslaught, today the Congress represents 100 Jewish communities and organizations and advocates for the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish people, while seeking to foster the unity and creative survival of the Jewish people and maintaining its spiritual, cultural and social heritage.  Please visit

For more information, contact Kimberly Mann, Manager, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, tel.: 212 963 6835; or e‑mail:

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.