UN Commemoration

We remember the Holocaust; this year, Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 19th.  But should we remember this cataclysmic period for only one day?  The answer is obvious.  For survivors, that memory is a very tangible ache in the center of the heart; for the second generation the feeling is more like a dark veil that brushes past us when we look at an old photo, see our aging image in a mirror, or gaze into the eyes of our children.  For those who were not directly or indirectly involved with the Holocaust, that period may be a paragraph in a history book or, worse, a word which we need to look up in a dictionary.  It is 2012, and the years seem to be flying by more quickly than we imagine.  Let’s not remember the Holocaust for just one day.  We should remember it because we must remember it.  The world is changing too quickly not to.  Here is a calendar of upcoming events sponsored by the UN.  Try to attend all or one of them.  And if you can’t attend, try to remember.


2012 Calendar of Holocaust Remembrance Events

The 2012 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust will focus on the theme “Children and the Holocaust”. The United Nations will remember the one-and-a-half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, together with the thousands of Roma and Sinti children, the disabled and others, who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Some children managed to survive in hiding, others fled to safe havens before it was too late, while many others suffered medical experiments or were sent to the gas chambers immediately upon arriving at the death camps. Highlighting the impact of mass violence on children, this theme has important implications for the 21st century.

New Publications:

  • The UN Holocaust Outreach Programme is producing a 32-page study guide for students aged 13 and up that will serve as a companion to the new animated documentary film entitled, “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”, on the life and artwork of Petr Ginz, a Jewish boy from Prague who perished in the Holocaust at the age of 16. The publication features Petr’s art and writings, and provides historical context for the film and information about the United Nations, human rights and Holocaust remembrance activities. The publication will be available online in all official United Nations languages and will be distributed to its global network of information centres with the film for educational programmes in the field.

    1The UN Holocaust Outreach Programme also partnered with the 92 Street Y to develop a lesson on Petr Ginz for its “School of the Arts Musical Introduction Series” for 5 to 9 year olds in 25 public schools in New York. The Programme contributed to the teachers’ guide and student journal, which will showcase Petr’s art in the unit entitled, “Remember Me: Art, Music and Poetry Celebrating the Children of Terezin”.


  • Wednesday & Thursday, 18-19 January

    Concert series “Remember Me: Music, Art and Poetry – Celebrating the Children of Terezin”

    Students aged 5 to 9 and their teachers will attend this series of four concerts celebrating the children of Terezin.  A representative of the United Nations Department of Public Information Outreach Division will deliver remarks at the opening of each concert, which will include a screening of the trailer of “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”, providing the students an opportunity to learn more about Petr’s experience at Terezin.

  • Monday, 23 January

    A Special Event for “IWitness” with USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
    Venue: Conference Room 1, Temporary North Lawn Building (UNHQ)
    Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

    Contact: Holocaustremembrance@un.org
    IWitness” is a new online application which provides a searchable collection of video testimonies of Holocaust survivors, along with educational tools and supporting resources for students. Twelve classes from secondary schools in the New York metropolitan area will be invited to create a research project using “IWitness”. The special event, co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations, will feature student presentations of their projects using “IWitness” and a Q&A with Roman Kent, a Holocaust survivor, whose testimony is in this collection.

  • Tuesday, 24 January

    Exhibit Opening of “The Face of the Ghetto: Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Lodz Ghetto 1940-1944” 
    Venue: UN Visitors’ Lobby
    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Contact: exhibition@topographie.de

    This exhibition presents new photographs of community life in the Lodz Ghetto, taken by the Jewish inhabitants. The exhibition is curated by the Topography of Terror Foundation, Berlin (Germany) in cooperation with the National Archives in Lodz (Poland).

    While researching in the National Archives in Lodz, historian Dr. Ingo Loose and curator Dr. Thomas Lutz came across 27 photo albums. Inside were about 12,000 contact prints in small format, sorted thematically and taken by Jewish photographers at the request of the ghetto’s Jewish Council. This collection of images – which is hardly known, even among experts in the field – shows a decisive step in the persecution of Jews in the Lizmannstadt Ghetto. Through this exhibition, these photographs are accessible to the public for the very first time.

  • Wednesday, 25 January

    Film Screening and Panel Discussion of “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz”  
    Venue: Conference Room 1, Temporary North Lawn Building (UNHQ)
    Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Contact: Holocaustremembrance@un.org or online registration

    The UN’s Holocaust Programme will screen a new animated documentary film on the life and artwork of Petr Ginz, a Jewish boy from Prague who perished in the Holocaust at the age of 16, after spending two years in Terezin.  He was a brilliant child who wrote a diary, four novels and created 200 illustrations and paintings during his short life.

    The screening will be held in partnership with the Documentary Film Program at Wake Forest University and the Documentary Institute at the University of Florida. A panel discussion with the filmmakers and Mr. Leo Lowy, a Holocaust survivor, will follow.[Film duration: 1h 7min]

  • Thursday, 26 January

    Opening of the Exhibitions “A Monument of Good Deeds: Dreams and Hopes of Children During the Holocaust” and “The Holocaust – Keeping the Memory Alive”
    Venue: UN Visitors’ Lobby

    Time: 6:00 p.m.
    Contact: ruthk@yadvashemusa.org or RGrossmann@yadvashemusa.org, Tel.: (212) 220 4304

    3The exhibition on children is curated by Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, and features the stories of 13 children during the Holocaust. Through their portraits, toys and artwork, visitors to this exhibition will learn how these children lived their daily lives as the war was raging around them.

    A page from the notebook that belonged to Clairette Vigder, a Holocaust child survivor. France, circa 1942

    A second exhibit titled “The Holocaust – Keeping the Memory Alive” will feature 16 entries of the Design Student Poster Contest. The exhibition is supported by the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) and held in partnership with Yad Vashem, le Mémorial de la Shoah, the European Shoah Legacy Institute and the UN Holocaust Programme. The top 16 entries will be presented.

  • Friday, 27 January

    Holocaust Memorial Ceremony
    Venue: General Assembly Hall (UNHQ)
    Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

    Contact: Holocaustremembrance@un.org or online registration

    The solemn ceremony on the theme “Children and the Holocaust” will include a video message by the UN Secretary-General and statements by the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representative of Israel and the Dominican Republic to the United Nations (invited). The Under-Secretary-General will also launch the UN Holocaust Outreach Programme’s new study guide for children. Keynote remarks will be made by Professor Robert Krell (Canada), a child survivor and psychiatrist who is devoted to understapnding the problems of Holocaust survivor-families and their wellbeing. Students from New York City will perform songs from the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood’s production of “Sosua: Dare to Dance Together”, which is based on the true story of the emigration of Jewish refugees to the Dominican Republic.

  • Side-event organized by B’nai B’rith International

    Zachor: Holocaust Memory Across Generations
    Venue: Consulate General of Germany, 871 United Nations Plaza

    Time: 8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
    Contact: RSVP by 23 January 2012 rsvpUN@bnaibrith.org or Tel.: (212)-557-0019

    B’nai B’rith International will hold a special breakfast programme on the Shoah and its legacy across the generations. Ambassador Brusso von Alvensleben, Consul General of Germany, and Allan J. Jacobs, President of B’nai B’rith International, will make remarks during the event.