Note No. 6519
24 January 2019

United Nations Opens Holocaust Exhibition on Story of Ruth Maier

A powerful exhibition tracing the journey of Ruth Maier, a young diarist who perished in the Holocaust, is now on display at the United Nations Visitors Lobby in New York.  The exhibition titled Lives cut short — Seeking Refuge During the Holocaust:  The Short Life of Ruth Maier was created through international scholarly cooperation between the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance, Vienna and the Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies, Oslo.  It is jointly sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Austria and Norway to the United Nations and will be on view in Gallery A until 26 February.

The exhibition is part of a week-long series of Holocaust remembrance activities that will be held at the United Nations in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust under the theme “Holocaust remembrance:  Demand and Defend Your Human Rights”.

Through photographs and diary extracts, this exhibition tells the story of a Jewish girl named 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 in Austria after the “Anschluss” of 1938.  After witnessing the violent antisemitism of the November Pogrom in 1938, Ruth found refuge in Norway.  There she completed her schooling and revealed her talents in writing, drawing and painting.  Writing poetry and her diaries in her new language, Norwegian, she shared her thoughts about love and life, which became increasingly more difficult under occupation by the Germans.

Ruth Maier could not escape anti-Semitism or the reach of the Nazis.  In 1942, she was arrested in front of her friends and deported to the Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940–1945), where she was murdered on 1 December 1942.  Since 2014, Ruth Maier’s diaries have been part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World Register, secured at the Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies.  The story of Ruth Maier is a reminder of the immeasurable loss to the world of the unrealized potential of the 6 million murdered during the Holocaust.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme is managed by the Department’s Education Outreach Section.  Established by General Assembly resolution 60/7 in 2005 to further education about and remembrance of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide, the multifaceted programme includes online and print educational products, seminars, exhibitions, a film series and the annual worldwide observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

To view the full calendar of events and registration details, please visit the 2019 Holocaust Remembrance Calendar at  Photo identification is required to pass through United Nations security screening at the First Avenue entrance at 46th Street.  The Visitors’ Lobby is open to the public Monday through Friday in January and February from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, please contact Tracey Petersen, Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme at email:; and Julia Hagl, Secretary, United Nations Exhibits Committee at email:  For media accreditation, please contact the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit at

For information media. Not an official record.