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2013 Calendar of Holocaust Remembrance Events

The 2013 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is built around the theme “Rescue during the Holocaust: The Courage to Care”. Through exhibits, film, educational activities and the annual memorial ceremony, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme and the global network of United Nations Information Centres honour those who risked their own lives to save tens of thousands of Jews, Roma and Sinti and others from near certain death under the Nazi regime during the Second World War in Europe. The week’s events, beginning on 21 January 2013, will provoke each participant’s own thoughts and beliefs about the moral values and courage that lie behind such daring acts of rescue. Each person who becomes aware of this history will no doubt reflect upon his or her own capacity to turn compassion for others into decisive and heroic action in their time of need.

New Publication

  • The Discussion Papers Journal is a compilation of ten papers written by leading Holocaust and genocide studies scholars from around the world. The series aims to engage the minds of students and spark lively discussions to expand their awareness of a crucial issue. In this series, Chinese author Pan Guang delivers a gripping account of how Jews made their way to Shanghai during the Second World War while Polish writer Andrzej Mirga details the Nazi persecution of Roma and Sinti during the same period. Argentine professor Juan E. Méndez bring us to the 21st century with a discussion of the 2011 arrest and pending trial of accused Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic. And the timeless value of Holocaust education is explored as South African Tali Nates shows how education is helping to heal the divisions wrought by apartheid in South Africa and Russian scholar Ilya Altman lays out Holocaust remembrance and education in contemporary Russia. Other contributors are Edward Mortimer and Kaja Shonick Glahn (UK / Germany), David Matas (Canada), Lenore Weitzman (USA), and  Robert Krell (Canada).


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

  • Opening of the Exhibits

    Venue: UN Visitors Lobby
    Time: 6 p.m.

    “The World Knew -- Jan Karski’s Mission for Humanity”

    Contact: ewa.malys@msz.gov.pl

    This exhibit lays out the captivating background of Polish native Jan Kozielewski, who under the assumed name of Jan Karski served as a courier for the Polish Underground State and informed Allied leaders about Nazi Germany’s ongoing extermination of the Jews. Karski was a Roman Catholic who later attained U.S. citizenship and was named an honorary citizen of Israel and a Righteous Among the Nations. The exhibit has been produced by the Polish History Museum in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the Jan Karski Educational Foundation.


    "Whoever Saves a Single Life … Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust"
    Contact: jfr@jfr.org

    This exhibit showcases some of those rare but exceedingly important instances where people fought to safeguard their Jewish fellow citizens during the Holocaust. In a time of overwhelming death and destruction, rescuers did not stand by silently. They chose another way, and their bravery offers us a glimmer of hope. It shows us that people are able to make choices and act on them, even in the face of powerful constraints, offering us a lesson on the universal value of the preservation of human life, human dignity, and human rights. It shows us that people are able to make choices and act on them, even in the face of powerful constraints, offering us a lesson on the universal value of the preservation of human life, human dignity and human rights. The exhibit has been produced by The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

  • Film Screening and Panel Discussion of “The Rescuers”

    Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
    Venue: Conference Room 4, North Lawn Building
    Contact: Holocaustremembrance@un.org

    filmThis documentary film by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Michael King chronicles the heroic efforts of a dozen diplomats who used the powers and privileges tied to their postings throughout Europe to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during the Second World War. These 12 individuals – from a Muslim Turk stationed in Greece to a Japanese envoy posted in Kaunas, Lithuania - took enormous personal risks to their lives and livelihoods to help others in dire circumstances. Michael King follows Sir Martin Gilbert, an eminent Holocaust historian who lost family members to the Holocaust, and Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist whose family was murdered during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as he interviews Holocaust survivors and descendants of the rescuers. Producer Joyce D. Mandell introduced the film. Michael King and Leon Moed, a Holocaust rescuee, took part in Q&A following the screening.

    The screening is organized by the United Nations Holocaust Programme in partnership with the United States Mission to the United Nations and the Sousa Mendes Foundation.

    Press Release: United Nations to Screen ‘The Rescuers’ to Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day While Honouring Heroic Actions, Moral Courage of 12 Diplomats (8 January 2013)

    Official website "The Rescuers"

Thursday, 24 January 2013

  • DPI NGO Briefing “Rescue during the Holocaust: The Story of the Danish Jews”

    Watch archived video

    Moderator:  Maria Luisa Chavez, Chief NGO Relations Outreach Division UN Department of Public Information

    Rebecca Neuwirth, Director of the Ambassadors program of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) (read remarks)
    Jacob Abudaram, student at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor (read remarks)
    Rikke Borge, daughter of famed pianist and humorist Victor Borge, one of the founders of Thanks To Scandinavia

Friday, 25 January 2013

  • Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

    Venue: General Assembly Hall (UN HQ)
    Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Contact: Holocaustremembrance@un.org

    Anchored by this year's theme of “Rescue during the Holocaust: The Courage to Care”, this solemn ceremony included a video message by the United Nations Secretary-General and statements by H.E. Mr. Raymond Serge Balé, Vice-President of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered on behalf of H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations and H.E. Ms. Signe Burgstaller, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations. Professor Ethel Brooks, who is Romani and a sociologist at Rutgers University, shared her perspective on the impact of Nazi terror and murder on Roma and Sinti families, while the keynote speech was delivered by Professor Mordecai Paldiel of Yeshiva University, who is a Jewish Holocaust survivor and leading authority on the acts of rescue during the Holocaust. Professor Paldiel is the former director of the Department of the Righteous at Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, which marks its 50th anniversary in 2013. Cantor Chaim David Berson recited the memorial prayers. The music during the ceremony was performed by the Motyl Chamber Ensemble.


    Side-event organized by B'nai B'rith International

    “60 Years of Material Restitution: History and Challenges”

    Venue: Baha’i International Community, 866 UN Plaza
    Time: 9:15 a.m.
    Registration has closed.

    B’nai B’rith International organized a special breakfast programme on 60 years of material restitution, its history and challenges. Allan J. Jacobs, B’nai B’rith International President opened the event. Remarks were made by Arie Bucheister, Senior Restitution Specialist, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Daniel S. Mariaschin, Executive Vice President, B’nai B’rith International.

  • At the initiative of the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme, The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) has made an eight-part poster series on the subject of “Rescue” available to the global network United Nations Information Centres for their educational activities. A teacher’s guide on how to generate a discussion on the importance of rescue, and student handouts describing individual stories accompany the posters, which convey the values of self-sacrifice, integrity and moral courage, offer a universal lesson on the importance of the preservation of human dignity and the protection of human rights. 

    The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, with the assistance of UNIC Buenos Aires, UNIC Moscow, UNRIC Brussels and UNIS Geneva, has translated these products into French, Russian and Spanish for classroom use.