Skip to main content

unesco commemorates holocaust memorial day 2016

As it does every year, UNESCO organized on January 27 2016, the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, various events in collaboration with the Memorial of the Shoah, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum , the Wiener Library ,the Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and France Culture a French public radio, with the participation of the permanent delegations of Germany and Latvia to UNESCO, and of the World Jewish Congress.

The large group that attended, could follow very interesting round-table discussions under the following topics:
- From Words to Genocide: An times Propaganda and the Holocaust
- A History of Hate Speech and Genocide
- In the Shadow of the Past: Countering Antisemitism and Hate Speech Today

The brilliant speakers came from French, American and Canadian Universities. Their interventions were very interesting but unfortunately they did not give any clue for the eradication of the current wave of anti-Semitism, which is brutally returning to Europe.

Neither Danielle nor myself were able to attend the moving ceremony in memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, which followed, with speeches by Mrs Irina Bokova Director General of Unesco, Mr Erich de Rothschild ,President of the Shoah Memorial ,and His Excellency Mr Carmel Shama Hacohen, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO.

The guest of honor was a survivor of the Ghetto of Lodz and of concentration camps, Mr Roman Kent, President of the Auschwitz International Committee , President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and President of the Jewish Foundation of the Righteous.

Prayers were said by Rabbi Olivier Kaufman and music played by the Choir to the French Army. 

UNESCO is also currently presenting two exhibitions opened to the public:
- State of Deception: the Power of Nazi Propaganda by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
- A as for Adolf: Teaching German Children Nazi Values by the Wiener Library

Unfortunately, on the very Day of the Celebration, Mr Rohani, President of Iran - a country who wants to destroy Israel and where a contest of caricatures about the Shoah has been organized - arrived in Paris. The Iranian Supreme Leader, Khameni, posted a video on the internet contesting the reality and importance of the Shoah.

Report submitted by  Lilianne Picard, ICJW Coordinator, UNESCO Paris.