Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Legacy of Survivors

Fifth Annual United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day

Why not turn the faken useless UN into a Holo Museum?
“We must continue to examine why the world failed to prevent the Holocaust and other atrocities since. That way, we will be better armed to defeat anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance".

United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said that on January 27, 2009 during the International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust one year ago and it was just as poignant during this year's event.

This year's theme, "Holocaust Remembrance: the Legacy of Survival" highlighted the moral messages expressed by those who suffered from Nazi persecution and the denial of basic human rights. As there are unfortunately fewer survivors to tell their stories today, it is of primary importance that these universal lessons be shared with all fellow human beings. Only this will insure that their legacy will continue to promote respect for diversity and human rights for generations to come.

This year's events included exhibits at the UN Library on "Generations: Survival and the Legacy of Hope" as well as "Architecture of Murder: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints". On January 27th, Holocaust Remembrance Day, B'nai B'rith and the permanent mission of the Czech Republic to the UN hosted an enlightening panel discussion on "Interreligious Responses to the Holocaust: 65 Years after Liberation". The speeches of Daniel Mariaschin, Executive Vice President of B'nai B'rith and Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches are reprinted in this issue.

That evening in the packed General Assembly Hall there was the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony and Concert sponsored by the Government of Germany. The musical portion included the Nurnberg Philharmonic, Bayreuth Zamir Choir, Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir, Isaak Tavior, conductor, H.E. Ambassador Martin Ney of Germany on flute and Zev Muller, Cantor of the West Side Institutional Synagogue chanting Ani Ma'amin [I Believe] and El Maleh Rachamim [Merciful God], the traditional Hebrew prayer asking God to grant perfect rest to the souls of the dead.

There were moving and heartfelt speeches by German Ambassador to the UN, Peter Wittig, Israel's Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, keynote address by Holocaust survivor and author of "Defiance", Professor Nechama Tec, Co-producer of "Defiance", Roland Tec, Senior Advisor on Roma and Sinti issues, Andrzej Mirga and messages from UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyotaka Akasaka, and Vice-President of the UN General Assembly, Byrganym Artimova of Khazakstan. Several of these speeches are reprinted in this issue as well. The final programs included a briefing on the legacy of Jews in Morocco and a screening of the highly acclaimed film "Defiance".



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