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12 January 2021

United Nations Department of Global Communications Will Host First Virtual Joint Observance of International Day to Commemorate Holocaust Victims

The United Nations Department of Global Communications has organized the first virtual and joint Commemoration Programme in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, to be screened on Wednesday, 27 January, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Comprising both a commemorative ceremony and a panel discussion considering the topic of Holocaust distortion and denial, the Programme is guided by the theme for United Nations outreach on Holocaust education and remembrance in 2021 — “Facing the Aftermath:  Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”.

The Commemorative Programme marks the first time the Organization has partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in organizing the annual observance, together with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.  CNN International has contributed two elements of the programme.

The theme guiding the Commemorative Programme 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 into the processes of recovery and reconstitution.  The theme covers how the responses to the period immediately after the Holocaust inform our responses today, in the attempt to prevent atrocity crimes and support the victims of human rights violations.

The first part of the Programme is a commemorative ceremony.  Speakers will include the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the President of the seventy‑fifth session of the General Assembly, the Director-General of UNESCO and the Missions of Israel and the United States to the United Nations.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, will deliver the keynote address.  Irene Butter will share her experiences of surviving the Holocaust in a conversation with CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward, and Ms. Butter’s granddaughter.  Cantor Julia Cadrain of Central Synagogue, New York, will recite the memorial prayers.

Musical performances will feature Deborah Nemtanu, leader of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and Sarah Nemtanu, leader of the Orchestre National de France, violinist and Professor at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne Renaud Capuçon.

The second part of the Programme is a panel discussion on Holocaust denial and distortion.  Moderated by CNN journalist Hala Gorani, it will feature the following speakers:  Hella Pick, CBE, journalist and Kindertransport refugee; Professor Deborah Lipstadt, historian; Philippe Sands, QC, lawyer and writer; and Robert Williams, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial.  Also delivering statements will be Alice Wairimu Nderitu, United Nations Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide; Serge Klarsfeld, UNESCO Special Envoy for Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention; and Michaela Kuechler, current Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Guests are invited to register and watch the ceremony and discussion online, or follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #holocaustremembrance.  The Programme will also be webcast live at http://webtv.un.org.

To view the calendar of events for January and February and registration details, please visit the Holocaust Programme website at www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/2021/calendar2021.shtml.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Department of Global Communications, was established by General Assembly resolution 60/7 in 2005.  Its multifaceted programme encompasses online and print educational resources, seminars, exhibitions, a film series and the annual worldwide observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, held on 27 January.  The Programme provides guidance on this observance to the global network of United Nations information centres.

For more information, please contact Tracey Petersen at email:  petersen3@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.