VIENNA, 27 January 2023 - The ceremony for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust marks 78 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. A memorial candle was lit and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) Ghada Waly read the message of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for the day:
“Today, we honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. We remember the six million Jewish children, women, and men, as well as the Roma and Sinti, the people with disabilities, and countless others who perished. (...) We must never forget – nor allow others to ever forget, distort or deny the Holocaust. Today and every day, let us resolve to never again remain silent in the face of evil – and to always defend the dignity and rights of all.” (Full message available here)
In his remarks Ambassador Mordechai Denis Paul Rodgold, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (Vienna) emphasized that we must “respect and cherish the survivors,who are still living among us.”Moreover, he stressedthat “the historical truth has to be protected and it is our duty to make sure that this knowledge is passed onto future generations.”
With the opening of the exhibition ‘Crimes Uncovered: The First Generation of Holocaust Researchers,’ the event also paid tribute to the legacy of individuals and institutions who worked during and immediately after the Holocaust to record and collect information on atrocities and bring perpetrators to justice. Co-Curator Lea Feibusch explained that these researchers’ collection of evidence was an “essential part of the persecution of perpetrators” and “thanks to their incredible work, the Holocaust is very well documented.”
The ceremony was organized by the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations (Vienna) and the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna with the support of the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Holocaust.
UNIS Vienna also supported Holocaust remembrance activities in Hungary and Slovakia, including a screening of the film ‘The US and the Holocaust’ with students at the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest, Hungary on 26 January and a workshop with secondary school students in Levice, Slovakia at the local Tekov Museum on 27 January, including the poster exhibition ‘Some were Neighbours.’ This exhibition will also be displayed at the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest later this year.
In Austria, the documentary ‘Game Changers’ by Israeli film director Noam Sobovitz was screened as part of the Ciné-ONU initiative and in co-operation with the Permanent Mission of Israel, the Permanent Mission of Germany and the Center for Israel Studies (Vienna).
Photos: UNIS/Nikoleta Haffar